Eisenhower, Bradley and Patton Inspect Nazi Stolen Art Treasures, 1945

Eisenhower, Bradley and Patton Inspect Nazi Stolen Art Treasures, 1945

This photo was taken by a U.S. Army Signal Corps photographer on 12 April 1945 as Allied forces captured parts of the German homeland and made discoveries about what had been going on during the Nazi reign. Among these astounding discoveries was a series of repositories of stolen valuables including magnificent art works taken from all over Europe and the Soviet Union. Seen here are General Dwight D. Eisenhower, Supreme Allied Commander, accompanied by Gen. Omar N. Bradley, and Lt. Gen. George S. Patton, Jr., examining a few paintings stored with thousands of other stolen items in a salt mine. The photo was taken with flash in the dimly lighted tunnel. The Signal Corps ID number is visible on the lower right.

Nazi collectors, most prominently Hermann Goering, were involved in an elaborate exchange of Impressionist paintings, regarded by the Nazis as decadent, for Old Masters, particularly Dutch and German. Much of the art was discovered in the spring of 1945 in a series of salt mines in Bavaria, where the cool temperature and dry air underground was perfectly suited to the storage of canvases.

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