Dallas group gives evidence of Nazi crimes to National Archives



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Posted on March 27, 2012 at 6:15 PM

Updated Tuesday, Mar 27 at 6:17 PM

UNIVERSITY PARK — A wrong was righted Tuesday in the history of World War II.

It happened when a Dallas non-profit called the Monuments Men Foundation handed over two photo albums to the National Archives.

The books — which once belonged to Adolf Hitler — are catalogs filled with photos of priceless art the Nazis plundered from Jewish families.

Robert Edsel, the president of the foundation, has chronicled Hitler's systematic theft of priceless art and how Allied soldiers called Monuments Men helped return the items to Jewish families.

Inside the books are meticulous records and photos of art, stolen for Hitler. Most of the items have since been returned. Today, some of the pieces are worth millions.

Robert Edsel, the president of the foundation, said Hitler would carry these volumes with him. "He looked at these things for relaxation. He flipped with them and they went wherever he went," Edsel said.

The books are an example of a phenomenon where veterans pass away and their relatives find items like these in their possessions.

In fact, Monuments Men Foundation has now found three similar books, all from men who served in the same division during the war.

"So, this is kind of a shout out for anyone in the 989th Field Artillery Battalion," Edsel said. "If you're still living, or you have relatives or any relatives of someone in the 989th, go and look in your attics, and if you have any more of these things please contact the Monuments Men Foundation."

Books like these were entered into evidence during the Nuremberg trials after the war. At the time, U.S. officials believed there were 39 volumes. These new finds, Edsel says, suggest there may be as many as 100. The missing books were likely taken by soldiers as souvenirs.

Edsel says he'd like to find them all, and hopes each new piece of the puzzle helps scholars better understand the massive scope of Hitler's crimes.

E-mail dschechter@wfaa.com