One of Adolf Hitler’s photo albums of art stolen by his Nazi troops is soon to be donated to the National Archives, according to the Washington Post.
Throughout the war, the staff of the Third Reich’s Einsatzstab Reichsleiter Rosenberg (ERR) were tasked with infiltrating museums and homes all across Europe in search for artistic treasures. According to the National Archives, “The ERR established its base of operations in Paris in July 1940 and on November 5, Hermann Goering assigned the ERR the responsibility for the confiscation of ‘ownerless’ Jewish art collections. On November 18 of that year, Adolf Hitler ordered that all confiscated works of art be brought to Germany and placed at his personal disposal. During the next several years, the ERR would be engaged in an extensive and elaborate art looting operation in France that was part of Hitler’s much larger premeditated scheme to steal art treasures from conquered nations.”
According to the Post, 39 such albums were found by the Allies in the early days of World War II. The recovered albums were then used by Allied personnel to determine where the art was stolen, and to be used in war crimes trials. In recent years, four more volumes have turned up, previously in private hands. The Post claims that three were donated to the National Archives in 2007 and 2012.
“There is the possibility that there could be 40 or 50 of them somewhere,” senior archivist Greg Bradsher told the Post. “Either in America or somewhere.”
To view Hitler’s art albums at the National Archives, visit their web site.