National Archives and Monuments Men Foundation Announce Donation of WWII Diary
Media Alert · Wednesday, April 24, 2019
WHAT: The National Archives will hold a press conference to unveil the donation by the Monuments Men Foundation of the personal diary of Monuments Man S. Lane Faison, Jr.
- David S. Ferriero, Archivist of the United States
- Dr. Greg Bradsher, Senior Archivist and expert on Holocaust-Era Assets records
- Robert M. Edsel, Chairman of the Monuments Men Foundation for the Preservation of Art, and author of The Monuments Men
WHEN: Monday, April 29, 2019, at 11 am.
WHERE: Archivist’s Reception Room, National Archives, 700 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC.
Press should use the Pennsylvania Avenue entrance. Accredited press should RSVP to email@example.com
PLEASE NOTE: Photographers welcome, however additional lights are prohibited.
The special Nazi task force, the Einsatzstab Reichsleiter Rosenberg (ERR), created the so-called “Hitler Albums,” which documented the unprecedented and systematic looting of European art by the Nazis, a story brought to the screen by George Clooney in The Monuments Men film. One of the Monuments Men was S. Lane Faison, Jr., who was head of the art department at Williams College at the onset of World War II. Though he enlisted as a Navy Reservist, Faison was subsequently recruited by the Office of Strategic Services and posted to the Art Looting Investigation Unit. At war’s end, he wrote the official report on Adolf Hitler's looted art collection. After the war, he supervised the identification and return of stolen art to the countries from which they had been taken.
In his final report to the OSS, Faison unsuccessfully advocated for the prosecution of Nazi art looters at the Nuremberg tribunal. He wrote that while "Looting always accompanies war”, the “Nazi looting, and especially Nazi art looting, was different. It was officially planned and expertly carried out. Looted art gave tone to an otherwise bare New Order.”
Faison kept a diary that his four sons later donated to the Monuments Men Foundation. Foundation Chair Robert Edsel will donate the diary to the National Archives, where it joins the collection of so-called “Hitler Albums” of looted art that the Foundation previously donated. Faison’s diary documents his time as Director of the Munich Central Collecting Point in 1950-1951. During this time, he oversaw the disposition of the remaining looted cultural property in the Collecting Point, and turned over its operations to the German government.
The Monuments Men’s Paper Trail at the National Archives
The National Archives holds millions of records created or received by the U.S. Government during and after World War II relating to the Nazi-era looted cultural assets, including the offiicial records of the Monuments Men. These voluminous National Archives holdings document the activities and investigations of U.S. Government agencies involved in the identification and recovery of looted assets, including the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) and U.S. occupation forces in Germany and Austria. The materials also contain captured German records about looted art, including the Einsatzstab Reichsleiter Rosenberg (ERR) card file and related photographs.
- Greg Bradsher’s blog: An Office of Strategic Services Monuments Man: S. Lane Faison
- Monuments Men Foundation biography of S. Lane Faison
- Monuments Men Foundation video: Monuments Man Lane Faison
- Finding Aid to the S. Lane Faison papers, Smithsonian Archives of American Art
- Greg Bradsher’s Prologue story: Monuments, Men, and Nazi Treasures
- Hi-res and public domain images relating to looted art
- Greg Bradsher’s extensive online finding aid to these materials
- Greg Bradsher’s series of Monuments Men blogs
- An overview of the records documenting WWII art related activities at the National Gallery of Art
For information about the Monuments Men Foundation, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
This page was last reviewed on April 25, 2019.
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