How WWII Soldiers Saved Italyâ€™s Art From the Nazis
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The story behind the upcoming George Clooney movie _Monuments Men_.
I had never heard the phrase "fortuitous toothache" before...
The Allies only became aware of the true, systematic extent of Nazi art theft in 1943, years into the war. They knew of the infamous â€śdegenerateâ€ť art exhibition that had toured Nazi-controlled Germany before the war, curated in such a way as to demonstrate the â€śinferiorityâ€ť of these abstract contemporary works. They knew of the fire-sale of art seized from German citizens before the war, and sold at an auction at the Galerie Fischer in Lucerneâ€”many of these works were bought by American and English collectors, whose desire to add to their collections helped finance Nazi armaments. But it was only in 1943 that a fortuitous toothache brought American soldiers Lincoln Kirstein (who would found New York City Ballet with George Balanchine after the war) and Robert Posey to a dentist near Trier, Germany. The dentistâ€™s son-in-law, who was hiding in a cottage in the forest, was SS officer Hermann Bunjes, former art adviser to GĂ¶ring. Kirstein and Posey tracked down Bunjes, and, assuming that they already knew of the Linz super museum, revealed to them the ERRâ€™s systematic looting of Europeâ€™s art collections.