Monuments Men – special unit MFAA
The so-called “Monuments Men” (art protection officers / Cultural Heritage Protection officers) made up the special unit MFAA (Monuments, Fine Arts and Archives) and served in the armed forces of the Western Allies from 1943 to 1951. They did their work, especially after the Allied landings in Normandy in June 1944, just behind the front lines. In their civilian lives, the Monuments Men were architects, curators, conservators, artists, art historians, museum directors, etc. Originally limited to nine key players, this unit was later enlarged to about 350 officers and soldiers. Their goal was to locate the artwork stolen throughout Europe by the Nazis and then secure, catalog, and transport it to the owners or respective national governments. Other cultural items were identified and secured by the Monuments Men as well such as monuments, architecture and works of art worthy of protection.
Important Nazi art depots inGermany and Austria that had to be secured were: the Bernterode mine in the northern Thuringian Forest, a mine near Siegen, the Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria, Buxheim Monastery near Memmingen, salt mines in Merkers-Kieselbach, a mine in Heilbronn Germany, Altaussee salt mine south of Salzburg, Austria and, of course, the Historic Art Bunker in Nuremberg.
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