America and the Return of Nazi Contraband: The Recovery of Europe's Cultural Treasures
Press Release · Wednesday, Mar 5, 2014

Dr. Michael J. Kurtz to Speak at the National Archives on June 28

IMPORTANT NOTE: due to recent floods and electrical outages, the National Archives Building in Washington, DC is closed. This program has been CANCELLED.

America and the Return of Nazi Contraband: The Recovery of Europe’s Cultural Treasures

Washington, DC…On Wednesday, June 28, at noon, the National Archives will host a lecture by Dr. Michael J. Kurtz, Assistant Archivist for Records Services at the National Archives. Dr. Kurtz will discuss the topic America and the Return of Nazi Contraband: The Recovery of Europe’s Cultural Treasures. This program is free and open to the public, and will take place in the William G. McGowan Theater of the National Archives Building, which is fully accessible. The public entrance is on Constitution Avenue at 9th Street, NW.

In the ruins of Hitler’s Third Reich, Allied occupiers found millions of paintings, books, manuscripts, and pieces of sculpture hidden in thousands of secret hideaways. Dr. Kurtz explores how the American Military Government in Germany, spearheaded by a few dozen dedicated Fine Arts, Monuments, and Archives officers and enlisted men, coped with restoring Europe’s cultural heritage. Caught up in often bitter diplomatic wrangling during and after the war, the Americans struggled to unearth and return what the Nazis had hidden.

Dr. Michael J. Kurtz serves as the Assistant Archivist for Records Services in Washington, DC. He joined NARA in 1974 and has worked in a variety of archival and management positions. He also serves as an adjunct professor at the University of Maryland’s College of Information Studies, where he teaches a course on the management of cultural institutions. Dr. Kurtz received his B.A. degree (1972) in history from The Catholic University of America, and his M.A. (1974) and Ph.D. (1982) in modern European history from Georgetown University. Dr. Kurtz has published articles and monographs in the areas of archival management and American history, with an emphasis on the Civil War, World War II and the post-war era, and religious and cultural history.

To request an accommodation (e.g., sign language interpreter) for a public program, please e-mail or call 202-357-5000 at least two weeks prior to the event to ensure proper arrangements are secured.

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For press information, contact the National Archives Public Affairs staff at 202-357-5300.


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