Except in the case of documents with numbered paragraphs, when it is obvious from the numbering that material has been omitted, diamonds (♦) are used to indicate the omission of one or more paragraphs.
The Protection of Historical Monuments and Art Treasures
Although Civil Affairs specialist officers got off to a late start in preparing for their mission in western Europe with respect to the protection and preservation of cultural treasures, they were at an advantage in being able to profit by their earlier experience in Italy. The documents of the chapter set forth some of the organizational vicissitudes of the Monuments, Fine Arts and Archives Section (MFA&A) in this endeavor, describe its planning activities, and illustrate the work of the men in the field.
In March 1944 the Civil Affairs Special Staff outlined a preliminary plan for organization and operation of MFA&A which formed the basis for a series of orders, directives, and instructions. The most important of these was General Eisenhower's order of May 26. Reflecting the mounting concern over the bombing of Monte Cassino, this order directed that historic sites and cultural monuments be spared as far as compatible with military necessity. The attitude manifested in this order was undoubtedly a basic factor in facilitating the work of the CAO's. Implicit in some of their reports is evidence of greater co-operation with military authorities, as for example in the notes by the civilian adviser to the MFA&A on the section's achievements in the forward areas of France. (See p. 870.)
Keeping in mind lessons learned in North Africa and in Italy, Civil Affairs officers sought to establish effective liaison with the Army; to obtain an adequate number of qualified personnel, especially men with the right kind of technical background; to define more precisely the relationship between the CAO's and other officials involved in the effort to safeguard Europe's artistic treasures; to provide useful instructional material as well as detailed maps and lists of monuments to be preserved; and to co-operate with local authorities as far as possible. Problems of liaison, adequate personnel, exchange of information, and other such matters, were of course not completely solved. But without the work of MFA&A officers and the firm direction of the Supreme Commander the loss to the world of art and culture might have been much greater. A General Board study, after noting the extent to which MFA&A work had been hampered by lack of rank and other means of acting effectively within the military framework, recommended that the MFA&A policy, organization, and mode of operation used during the European campaign should with certain revisions be continued in future planning.
1. "PROTECT AND RESPECT THESE SYMBOLS WHENEVER POSSIBLE"
MONUMENTS, FINE ARTS AND ARCHIVES SECTION ESTABLISHED AT COSSAC
[The General Board, USFET, Study 36: Report on CA-MG Activities, MFA&A, Copy in OCMH, MS files]
7. In November 1943, when the Civil Affairs Section of
Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives was established at Headquarters, Chief of
Staff, Supreme Allied Command (COSSAC), the duties of the section were:
a. Record and assess war damage suffered by historic monuments prior to our occupation; take or advise the steps necessary to prevent further deterioration; supervise and pass estimates for repairs.
b. Prevent damage by troops; affix notices, close buildings or procure guards; check billeting; interest the troops by lectures or otherwise; and investigate charges of wanton damage brought against the Allied troops and report proved cases.
c. Prevent the looting, sale or removal of objects of art.
d. Establish the fact of looting by enemy troops.
ORGANIZATION AND PLANS FOR MINIMIZING DAMAGE TO EUROPE'S CULTURAL HERITAGE
[Geoffrey Webb, Adviser, MFA&A, Report to June to CofS, G-5, SHAEF files, G-5, 130.21, Jkt 1]
Early Stages: Personnel
The adviser in Monuments, Fine Arts and Archives, Professor Geoffrey Webb, began to make semi-official contacts with the Special Staff, G-3, as from January 1944. 1 He was not finally appointed Civilian Adviser, pending the militarization of the appointment, until 1 April. The Special Staff was at that time organized in Country Sections and Functional Sections. The former specialized in the particular problems of the European countries, Norway, Denmark, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg and France; the latter, with which MFA&A was included under Government Affairs, dealt with questions common to all countries and acted as a co-ordinating office. By I April the following officers had been temporarily attached to Special Staff for MFA&A work:
With the Adviser in the Sub-Section: Capt. [Marvin C.] Ross (USMCR)
Lt. [George L.] Stout (USNR) Capt. [R. E. L.] Balfour (KRRC )
With the French Country Section:
Capt. [Walker K.] Hancock (AUS)
Capt. [Louis B.] LaFarge (AUS)
With the German Unit:
Maj. [Theodore] Sizer (AUS)
Lt. [Calvin S.] Hathaway (AUS)
On 1 April Capt. Hammett and Capt. Hammond joined the Functional Sub-Section and the German Unit respectively.
Early Stages: Organization
The earliest scheme for organization as drawn up in January 1944 envisaged a Chief Adviser (Br), two deputy chiefs (one U.S., one Br), and a staff of specialist officers roughly in equal proportions of U.S. and British. A proposed establishment was worked out on this basis, and allowed for a total of 17 officers in the first instance with a possible increase to 27 should the speed of advance be such as to require additional officers to deal with the areas uncovered.
The next step was to put forward a First Edition of Instructions to CA staffs and detachments in the matter of MFA&A. It was envisaged that this first edition should be issued after discussion.
In the course of March the Civil Affairs Special Staff was sent into . . . the West of England to devote themselves to planning; their concrete task was the production of a CA Handbook for each country concerned. These handbooks were not merely informative but contained the orders and instructions under which the CA officers were to work. Preference was given to the French Handbook and in this phase the pace was set by Capts. Hancock and LaFarge (the two Monuments officers attached to the French Section) in collaboration with the Functional Sub-Section. The work was based on the assumption that a General Order, or equivalent document, modeled on the order issued on December 23, 1943 by General Eisenhower for the Mediterranean Theater, would be issued and would determine the nature of the new organization. The first need was a list of monuments to be exempt from military use and which should be the basis of any list of buildings to be given special consideration in planning operations. ♦ ♦ ♦
A beginning was made on the French list before the staff was moved . . . and lists for Norway, Denmark and Germany (as far as the areas to be controlled by SHAEF were con-
cerned), for the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg were produced. Where possible the cooperation and criticism of the Allied Governments were invited before final versions of the lists were determined. In addition to the work on the lists, officers in the French Country Sections and the Functional Sub-Section concerned themselves with the problems of advice to CA officers in regard to care of Monuments, etc., in places where Specialist officers were not immediately available . . . and with the compilation of a Standard Operation procedure for specialists in the field. . . . In addition to the work on their respective handbooks and lists, the MFA&A officers with the French and German Country sections also had to work out plans and requirements for future operations in the countries concerned. Similar work for the other European countries was largely undertaken by the Functional Sub-Section.
Personnel: Second Phase
.... The Adviser conceived it to be part of his duty to recommend officers for appointment as need arose in order to assure the; best and most economical use of men available having regard to their technical qualifications and background. He decided at the outset that as the whole activity was a joint U.S./Br enterprise the principle should be established that U.S. and Br specialist officers should be employed interchangeably irrespective of the nationality of the forces to which they were attached. For this policy he found support in the authorities at SHAEF. It was therefore decided to recommend that 1 U.S. and 2 British officers should be allocated to the British forces and i British and 2 U.S. to the U.S. forces as they should be required....
Organization and Personnel: Second Phase
As a result of the preliminary work carried out by the Functional Sub-Section and the officers of the French Country Unit, a series of orders, directives and instructions were issued in the latter part of May. Most important of these was General Eisenhower's order to the Commanders-in-Chief of 26 May, the directive which accompanied it and instructions to CA officers for France issued by 21 A/G [Army Group], this letter being based on the French handbook. 21 A/G also issued a directive to Armies making clear the need for adequate mobility of the MFA&A officers and the importance of so placing them that they could adequately cover the areas allotted to them and be available to advise the Army as the occasion should arise....
In the course of May, Colonel Newton arrived on a visit from the War Department and before his departure for Italy, his advice, more particularly on the special problems and the background and technical qualifications of the U.S. personnel, was most valuable....
Relations with the Air Force:
Contact was established with the Staff of Air [Chief] Marshal [Sir Arthur W.] Tedder in April, which, as soon as the SHAEF organization took over the control of all Air operations toward the end of May, resulted in the demand for information from the Adviser in a form especially suited to the Air Command's needs. This was of two kinds:
(a) Information to enable due consideration to be given to cultural monuments in framing a strategic bombing programme. This involved the supply of a special list made up by towns graded according to their importance. This was supplied.
(b) Information as to the sites of particular buildings, for use in tactical bombing operations. On this matter, the Adviser recommended the Frick maps. Specimens were supplied, and this resulted in the demand for copies of the Frick Atlas for France which it was fortunately possible to supply at short notice. Further information has been passed to the Air Command as it has become available.
This problem which in the future will be one of the governing considerations for the MFA&A officers, has scarcely affected the organization up to date. . . . In the final analysis, this is largely a problem of Police technique and Intelligence. . . .
The basis of the work on the official list of Protected Monuments has been the material supplied from the U.S. Though the Frick maps with the accompanying lists and the list of the American Defense Harvard Group have come to hand somewhat irregularly and in some cases there has been more material for the compilation of the official lists than in others, these documents have been fundamental and essential. . . . It is to be emphasized that these lists supplied from U.S. can, in no way, supersede the Official Lists
which with all their imperfections . . . have been framed as minimal lists consistent with reasonable military requirements. . . . In the same way the instructions on first aid to buildings and care of works of art issued in Washington are somewhat too full and unhandy to be carried about by an officer in the field and in the technical instructions issued to MFA&A officers, these have been used as a basis for a shorter work. The compilation of this technical instruction has been undertaken by the officers themselves working with the Adviser and apart from its permanent usefulness has served as a device for training and clearing the minds of the officers as to their job. . . . In this connection the criticism of those officers with experience in Italy has been most valuable....
The most important aspect of the training of MFA&A officers has perhaps been their joint work on the Technical Instructions (above). It has, however, been the consistent policy of the Adviser to bring together as far as military organization would permit, as many officers as possible round the central nucleus at Hq so that these officers who otherwise had been given only general CA training might get some idea of the way the organization was being built up, and the various problems and the tentative solutions which were being worked out by the Staff at Hq....
.... Few of the U.S. officers are above the rank of Captain, and some are below. The U.S. Army system apparently does not allow of "acting rank" whereas this is normal practice in the British Army. The U.S. officers selected for this service are of the highest quality both personally and by reason of their technical qualifications, but they are, with few exceptions, too low in rank to carry the authority which is desirable for the efficient performance of their duties in the field. The Adviser has every confidence in these officers but wishes to emphasize most strongly that their junior rank may well prove a considerable and unnecessary handicap to them. . . . There is, moreover, the personal difficulty that the U.S. officers are liable to be outranked by the British officers doing the same work. Although the loyalty and generosity of spirit of the U.S. officers has prevented this issue from arising, the Adviser feels most strongly that for this reason, as well as that indicated above, every effort should be made to find a solution to this difficulty.
CONCERN OVER NONARRIVAL OF U.S. REPRESENTATIVE
[Msg, American Embassy, London, to Secy of State, 21 Apr 44, CAD files, 000.4 (3-25-43) (I), sec. 2]
The British have taken over organization of the monuments officers in this theatre in consequence of the non-arrival of Newton.2 At present the command is in the hands of British Lieutenant Colonel Woolley in War Office and British Professor Webb at SHAEF. The suggestion that Newton reverse his itinerary, coming here directly, to arrive before organization entirely frozen is joined in by Dinsmoor....
[Ltr, Chief, CAD to C/ACOS, SHAEF, 2 May 44, CAD files, 000.4 (3-25-43), sec- 3 ]
This will introduce to you Colonel Henry C. Newton, Inf., of CAD who has been authorized to visit the European Theater of Operations to gather information and aid in the formulation of a program for the preservation of fine arts and historic monuments in occupied territories.
. .. The American Commission for the Protection and Salvage of Artistic and Historic Monuments in War Areas has strongly recommended him as an outstanding officer to head the Arts and Monuments Section of Civil Affairs in your theater. Furthermore, it is my opinion that Colonel Newton is eminently qualified to perform the highly specialized functions which will be the responsibility of the officer occupying this position on your staff.
SHAEF PRESCRIBES A STANDARD PROCEDURE
[Standard Policy and Procedure for Combined Civil Affairs Operations in Northwest France (pars. 51-52 and 11617), rev i May 44, SHAEF files, G-5, 327]
♦ ♦ ♦ Public Monuments and Fine Arts. CA Detachments will render assistance in the protection of public monuments and art or literary treasures, for example, by organizing local
police to provide guards. They will also collect data which may later assist recovery of looted objects of this character. Qualified officers will be included on the staff of the Supreme Commander and will give technical advice when required. CA Staffs will also be responsible for advising commanders as to areas which should be placed out of bounds to troops, in order to avoid damage to historical monuments and art treasures.
Government Records and Archives. Every effort will be made to preserve local archives. CA detachments will be responsible for arranging for the posting of guards where necessary: Government and other records will not be removed without the authority of the Military Commander.
IN MAY, MFA&A WITHOUT A HOME IN SHAEF
[Memo, Webb, Adviser, MFA&A, to ACofS, G-5, 19 May 44, SHAEF files, G-5, 751, Jkt I ]
2. In the organization of G-5 Division which became effective on I May 1944 no place was assigned to MFA&A Sub-Section.
3. The alternatives appear to be that MFA&A should be a policy branch comparable with Legal, Fiscal, Supply, Public Health and Economics or a Section under Operations Branch.
4. There have been examples in the past few weeks of the Country Sections making their arrangements in matters affecting MFA&A both in matters of personnel and policy without consultation with the Adviser.
5. Changes have been introduced into the French Country Handbook and a directive issued relating to France which only came to the knowledge of the Adviser accidentally.
6. The present anomalous position in which MFA&A are omitted from the organization chart promulgated on I May has led to delays in the work, of which an example is that a recommendation for special equipment . . . was returned with the comment "Status of MFA&A Section is ambiguous. Is it part of G-5 or SHAEF SS? No provision in organization chart G-5, 1 May 1944 "
Of the alternatives mentioned in 3 above, the latter, that MFA&A should be a section under Operations Branch, offers no guarantee that the state of things indicated in 4 and 5 above will not continue or that the Adviser will be in a position to coordinate the work of MFA&A officers. The adoption of the first alternative, i.e., that MFA&A should be a policy branch, would presumably solve these difficulties.
MFA&A GIVEN A HOME, WITH APOLOGIES
[Memo, Brig E. A. L. Gueterbock, G-5, SHAEF, to Adviser, MFA&A, 29 May 44, SHAEF files, G-5, 751, Jkt I ]
1. It has been decided that the Monuments, Fine Arts and Archives Section will be in the Operations Branch under the Deputy Chief, Ops. The necessary amendment to War Establishment will be made in due course.
2. As regards appointments in country units and CA groups, etc., the policy is that the chief of the technical branch, sections, etc., at SHAEF Hq is to advise on the selection of technical personnel. This applies to MFA&A officers also. It is wrong that the country units should have made their own selections without consulting you, and I should be grateful for your advice on any MFA&A appointments.
3. Directive and Instructions in French Manual. The Editing Committee on the directives found it necessary to cut down all directives as far as possible, and to transfer "instructional" matter to the C.A. Instructions themselves. The production of the instructions are the responsibility of French Unit in conjunction with the functional representatives. It is regretted that proper co-ordination did not take place with you.
SUPREME COMMANDER DIRECTS THAT SYMBOLS OF CULTURE BE RESPECTED
[Directive, Eisenhower to All Comdrs, 26 May 44, SHAEF files, G5, 751, Jkt I ]
1. Shortly we will be fighting our way across the Continent of Europe in battles designed to preserve our civilization. Inevitably, in the path of our advance will be found historical monuments and cultural centers which symbolize to the world all that we are fighting to preserve.
2. It is the responsibility of every commander to protect and respect these symbols whenever possible.
3. In some circumstances the success of the military operation may be prejudiced in our reluctance to destroy these revered objects. Then, as at Cassino, where the enemy relied on our emotional attachments to shield his defense, the lives of our men are paramount. So, when military necessity dictates, commanders may order the required action even though it involves destruction of some honored site.
4. But there are many circumstances in which damage and destruction are not necessary and cannot be justified. In such cases, through the exercise of restraint and discipline, commanders will preserve centers and objects of historical and cultural significance. Civil Affairs Staffs at higher echelons will advise commanders of the locations of historical monuments of this type, both in advance of the front lines and in occupied areas. This information, together with the necessary instructions, will be passed down through command channels to all echelons.
[Ltr, Asst ExecO, G-5, ETOUSA, to ACofS, G-5, SHAEF, 12 Jun 44, SHAEF files, G-5, 751]
1. Pursuant to lettter of Supreme Commander, 26 May 44,
Subject: "Preservation of Historical Monuments," .. . it is necessary that Field
Commanders know what objects lie before them in their respective zones of
action. With this knowledge certain structures might, consistent with military
necessity, be saved from damage or destruction.
a. For this purpose MFA&A Official List of Protective Monuments, France-Parts I, II, III and Army Service Forces Manual, M352-I7A, Supplement Civil Affairs Handbook, France-a French Atlas of the important cities and regions with the important MFA&A objects listed and spotted therein-have been prepared and partial distribution has been made.
b. In order that proper and timely information may be in the hands of Field Commanders it is believed that these Atlases should be distributed through FUSAG to Staffs down to Divisions.
2. One hundred thirty-five (I35) copies of the French Atlases (Manual M352-I7A) have been distributed to the Air Forces so that each Briefing Room possesses a copy.
3. CA Detachments have their instructions covering preservation of MFA&A and MFA&A Spec. O's have been assigned to TUSA & FUSA to aid CA Dets. in their work. ETOUSA and FEComZ [Forward Echelon Communications Zone] will also have MFA&A Spec. O's [Special Officers] for ComZ. They will aid and advise CA Dets, keeping in close touch with G-2 and G-3 for record of damage already done, works to be guarded, etc., but it is highly important that everything should be done during planning and in the initial combat phases to provide a program that will prevent damage, as far as military necessity will permit and not provide one of picking up the pieces.
4. Recommendation: That French Atlases, ASFM [Army Service Forces Manual], M352I7A, be distributed to all units in FUSA & TUSA down to Divisions with copies for the General Staff Sections and to CA Sections.
HOW TO USE MFA&A OFFICERS
[Directive, 21st AGp to Armies, FEComZ and LOC, 30 May 44, SHAEF files, G-5, 130.21 Jkt I ]
1. Three Monuments and Fine Arts officers will be allotted to each of the British and U.S. Zones. They will form part of the normal specialist increment of a CA Group.
2. SCAO's will utilize these officers to the best advantage in the areas for which they are responsible and should, in the absence of strong reasons to the contrary, be advised by the officers themselves as to their location and movement.
3. Wherever located, Monuments and Fine Arts officers will be attached as an increment to the most conveniently situated CA Detachment and will be under command of the CO of that detachment.
4. Within the limits of availability and consistent with other requirements, these officers will be afforded full facilities for movement and communication with each other.
5. Reports rendered by these officers will be forwarded, without alteration, through CA channels to Headquarters, 21 Army Group. Any comments by SCAO's will be made in a covering letter. ♦ ♦ ♦
WAR DEPARTMENT REPRESENTATIVE WANTS MORE ACTION
[Ltr, Newton to McSherry, Chief, Opns Branch, G-5, SHAEF, 8 Jun 44, SH AEF files, G-5, 751, Jkt I ]
8. If the entire program of MFA&A should be at all
ineffective, I feel, at the moment, that any such condition can be attributed to
a. Delay in getting essential information to our MFA&A officers in the field. For example, the SOP has not as yet been forwarded to SHAEF even in draft form.
b. Lack of proper coordination of the work with the G-2 and G-3 Sections of the tactical command.
c. Insufficient trained personnel combining the essential professional and military background.
9. I have done everything I possibly could to implement the program while in the Theater; however, I feel that all these matters are of extreme importance and any clarification thereof will place our officers on a more secure footing and provide for a more effective accomplishment of the mission.
CIVIL AFFAIRS INSTRUCTIONS REVISED
[CA Instrs 15 to FUSAG, 21 AGp, ComZ, and All Country Secs, Jun 44, 5 SHAEF files, G-5, 751, Jkt I ]
1. General Policy
A. Civil Affairs Staffs and Detachments will operate in conformity with Standard Policy and Procedure, Paras 51 and 116-Public Monuments and Fine Arts and Paras 52 and 117Government Records and Archives [see above], and in conformity with the order of SCAEF on the Preservation of Historical Monuments . . . 26 May 1944
B. It is the declared Policy of the Allied Governments to prevent by all practical means, including first aid repairs wherever practicable, further deterioration of already damaged buildings and to safeguard any movable works of art from misappropriation or decay.
D. It is the duty also of Civil Affairs Staffs and Detachments to protect the Allied Authorities from false claims for compensation based on exaggerated values, or even on the alleged loss of works of art which may never have existed.
The Official Lists of Protected Monuments for Northwestern Europe have been published by G-5, SHAEF, and copies are available. Supplementary lists of other important monuments are being printed and will be available to CA officers commanding detachments. Sets of "Cultural Maps" of N.W. Europe are being issued by the Army Service Forces Manual (Section 17A Supplement). C.A. Handbooks for Countries of N.W. Europe, the one for France being already published (M352-17A Supplement). . . . The S.O.P. for MFA&A specialist officers is in mimeographed form. Advice on technical questions is obtainable from Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives Section of G-5, SHAEF. Lists of museum personnel, archivists and librarians are being prepared for MFA&A Specialist Officers as well as material on the administrative set-up in the various countries of N.W. Europe.
4. Instructions for Civil Affairs Staffs and Detachments
A. I. It is the responsibility of the DCCAO at Army Group Hq to inform the GOCinC as areas containing historic monuments and works of art come within the sphere of Allied operations and to pass this information to commanders of subordinate formations and officers commanding CA Detachments as security permits. [The remainder of subparagraph A deals with administrative duties of the DCCAO.]
B. It is the responsibility of SCAO at Army Hq and Hq Z/L of C so to dispose of the Specialist MFA&A officer or officers that they are readily available for advice and are conveniently placed in relation to the areas in question to carry out the duties outlined in C (below).
C. The MFA&A Specialist Officers in the field will:
1. Visit as many places as possible within the area covered by the group of detachments in order to inspect and report on the condition of monuments, repositories, and works of art;
2. See that all monuments on the Official List of Protected Monuments have been exempted from military use unless specific permission has been given by the appropriate authority;
3. Consider whether any monuments or portions of monuments on the Official List of Protected Monuments may suitably be used for billeting or other purposes, and if so, advise the CAO to forward a request to higher authority;
4. Consider whether other historic monuments, e.g., those on the Supplementary List, should be placed out-of-bounds and if so discuss with the CMP and CAPO;
5. See that notices are posted when required;
6. Advise Officers commanding CA Detachments which buildings are in need of urgent repairs;
7. Arrange if necessary for the salvaging whenever possible of fragments of important monuments and works of art;
8. See that proper steps both physical and legal are taken for the care of movable works of art;
9. All questions of temporary repairs will be referred to the CFA through the O.'s Cmdg. [Commanding] Detachments and will be done in collaboration with the indigenous authorities, being paid for in accordance with CA Instruction No. 116.
10. Send monthly report through channels to Adviser, MFA&A, SHAEF.
POLICY ON ARCHIVES DEFINED
[ Ltr, SCAEF to AGp Comdrs, 20 Aug 44, SHAEF files, AG, 000.4-1, 1944 6 ]
1. Accumulations of documents connected with business of all kinds, public and private, secular and ecclesiastical, are to be found in all towns. Some of these Archives date from early times, others from the present day; but whatever may be their intrinsic worth, all have great value for every kind of research and organization, and may be of considerable importance to the Intelligence Service and to agencies concerned with the reconstitution of civil life.
2. The importance of these Archives lies in the fact that not only do they contain valuable information, but also they are a continuous series of related documents. They may be almost as effectively ruined by displacement of a few documents as by the destruction or disposal of the whole. Moreover, their value as evidence depends largely on their continuous preservation in authorized custody.
3. In order to insure that Archives are not destroyed or damaged, all buildings in which they are housed will, where practicable, be put out of bounds to all troops. Should it be essential to occupy parts of such buildings, the necessary steps will be taken, in consultation with the responsible custodians to insure that there is no access to the Archives except for officers duly authorized by Army Group Commanders.
4. Important archives are for the most part kept in official buildings but, in order to insure that none are overlooked, the local authorities in all large towns will be consulted as to their whereabouts.
2. LESS DAMAGE THAN EXPECTED IN NORTHERN FRANCE
CULTURAL PROGRAM AT CHERBOURG
[Detachment AIAI, SCAR, 1 Aug 44, SHAEF files, G-5 751]
A preliminary survey of the historical monuments, cultural institutions and
art collections in Cherbourg . . . has been completed.
♦ ♦ ♦ All monuments listed are adequately protected by the civilian agency or the military authority (French Navy) exercising supervision over the monuments or institutions except in the case of the Cite Chautereyne .... which is under civilian ownership. . . . Repairs of historical structures and other buildings . . . will proceed under the direction of the French authorities.
MFA&A ADVISER FINDS SITUATION FORTUNATE IN MANY RESPECTS
[Rpt, Adviser, MFA&A, to Chief, G-5, Opns Branch, 19-20 Aug 44 SHAEF files, G-5, 130.21, MFA&A Rpts, Jkt 1]
1. British Army
The Adviser, MFA&A, U-5 Operations Branch, SHAEF, left for N. W. France on Saturday, 10 August. . . . two (lays were spent with Captain LaFarge [AC, AUS, Monuments officer I visiting Caen, Falaise, and other sites in the area of 2d British Army. Captain LaFarge has clearly done a very fine job of work in the 2d British Army area and not the least is the admirable relations he has established with these gentlemen. . . . The situation as regards monuments in this area is more satisfactory than one could have dared to hope and far fewer buildings of outstanding quality have been damaged or destroyed than the scale of military operations would have led men to expect. The chief difficulty in the way of first aid repairs appears to be labour. . . . In view, however, of the relatively small amount of French labour taken up by the Armies, this is a purely French concern. . . . Another difficulty which has arisen has been that of destruction of already damaged buildings by the Engineers. The most outstanding example of this has been that of Norrey church, a building of considerable interest though not on the Official List of protected Monuments. The case has achieved some degree of publicity. The intention of the Engineers to demolish the tower was, however, averted and though some damage was done to the east end of the Church the situation has now been rectified as far as possible. ♦ ♦ ♦
2. U.S. Armies
.... the Adviser visited the area of the U.S. Armies and was able to contact three out of the five monuments officers and visit Hq, 12th U.S. Army, Hq, 1st U.S. Army and Hq, Z/LOC....
In general, the same observations as to the possibility of first aid repairs and the danger oŁ destruction of damaged buildings by over zealous Engineers apply in the heavily damaged towns of the 1st U.S. Army area as in those in the British area but where the advance has been fast and the damage to houses consequently less, it will be possible for the French to start first aid repairs much earlier. . . . In the matter of transport one officer . . . stated that since the acquisition of so much enemy transport, he found little or no difficulty in getting all the transport facilities he needed....
The damage even in the area where fighting was protracted and concentrated is less than might have been anticipated; up to date no monument of the first order of importance has been reported as severely damaged. . . . The Cathedral of St. Lô is the most outstanding exception....
.... Mr. Jaujard, Director of the Musees Nationaux at the Louvre . . . was able to assure the Adviser that the contents of the National and Provincial Museums under his care were according to his latest information intact. The depots where the works of art had been placed for safe keeping were mainly in the area south of the Loire and therefore at the time of the meeting still cut off from Paris and from the Allied Military authorities but those in the area immediately to the north of that river which included the very important depot of Sourches northwest of Le Mans are believed to be intact. In the case of Sourches . . . this is known to be so. Sourches contains among other things the Marie de Medici, Rubens series, the Radeau de la Meduse and other exceptionally large pictures. . . . The Adviser found that the monuments officers had already made contact with the officials in charge of the various depots and had initiated measures to help them with their most urgent problems....
[Deputy Adviser, MFA&A, Rpt, 31 Oct 44, SHAEF files, G-5, 130.21, Jkt 1 ]
♦ ♦ ♦ St. Malo. The amount of damage to the cultural monuments and institutions in the older portion of the town is very great. The old town, as a small XVII Century city, is almost gone. ♦ ♦ ♦
The remnants of buildings of historic interest have been all posted so that they will not be torn down indiscriminately. Anything in the way of cultural material (i.e., archives, libraries, etc.) in the old part of the town is gone. However, the French have undertaken repairs already....
Brest. At first sight the destruction seems almost total. . . . In short, the destruction in Brest was such that with the exception of the old fortified chateau and portions of facades, anything of cultural value left in the city was doubtless destroyed. ♦ ♦ ♦
Conclusions: At St. Malo and Brest, the destruction is great and often very tragic. Outside of such places, however, Brittany remains pretty much unchanged and unharmed by the war. Only one of the famous Calvaire (that at Plougastel-Daoulas) was injured and there are a few losses among the churches. Even the quaint pardons continue as usual. In many areas the local custodians are showing considerable initiative in caring for the historic monuments in their charge.
UNAUTHORIZED REMOVAL OF ART FROM VERSAILLES AVERTED
[Ltr, Monuments Officer, ComZ to ACofS, G-5, SHAEF, 16 Sep 44, SHAEF files, G-5, 130.21, Jkt I ]
1. The Royal Palace and Gardens at Versailles are on the Official List of Protected Monuments issued by Supreme Allied Expeditionary Force.
2. Your monuments officer was told by Major Ward of this Hq at 0730 today that he was told that paintings and furnishings were being taken from Versailles and used for the decoration of General Eisenhower's private office.
3. Before going to Versailles to investigate this matter as well as the continued use of the garden area for British signal equipment, recent bivouacking by First Army and proposed use of the grounds for SHAEF units, Lt. Col. [P. Earnest] Gabler informed me . . . that there had been some thought of purchasing furnishings for the above-mentioned office and that it could be done only upon written request of General Eisenhower himself. ♦ ♦ ♦
5. . . . Directeur of the French National Museums had approved request for furnishings from Versailles as he was told that it had come from General Eisenhower or his immediate representative....
6. Captain [John B.1 Coates, [Jr.], CO Civil Affairs Det. at Versailles, had not heard of the request.
7. On 14 September . . . [town Major for Hq, ComZ] delivered a handwritten note for the following items to the Chief Curator at Versailles:
11 paintings, 7 engravings, I terra-cotta statue all objects in the official catalogue of the Versailles museum. The Curator and I visited the Hq. office in question and there saw these objects and also a magnificent 18th century desk which came from Versailles and was not on the temporary receipt. The fine Persian carpet and furnishings from the Mobilier National in Paris had been secured by request for the Hq.
8. . .. [the town Major] had seen the Prefect of Seine-et-Oise and had worked with a French SHAEF Liaison Officer who was not informed of the official listing and protection of Versailles in American Army directives. The chief curator at Versailles had wanted to be helpful when requested by American officers and the Prefect to give objects for the office of our Commanding General. . . . [the town Major] took me to Colonel Brown who is from SHAEF and is preparing the General's Hq. . . . Finally he suggested returning the things to the Palace. The undersigned stated that he was there to investigate the situation and that if his advice were asked he would advise that in view of the official list, the propriety of taking such objects at this time, the importance of the objects, the fact that criticism might cause General Eisenhower unnecessary embarrassment, etc., that the objects be returned. Colonel Brown directed me to make the necessary excuses to the Curator who had been anxious to co-operate and see that . . . the objects were returned tomorrow morning.
9. When the herein-mentioned situation was discussed with you and General Rogers, the latter commanded that I write a report for your earliest attention and stated that I was to assume no responsibility for the returning of the objects though I could be present and offer advice. He wanted the objects returned.
[ Ltr, Asst ExecO, Hq ComZ, to ACofS, G-5, SHAEF, 2 Oct 44, SHAEF files, G-5, 130.21, Jkt I]
♦ ♦ ♦ a. Capt. Hammett presented to Col. Webb the general picture of Versailles, use of the grounds and some of the buildings, and the fact that the Directeur had not been formally called upon and permission asked, as reported by Seine Base Section. He told of the attempted use of Versailles Museum pieces for furnishing one of the offices and now of the painting of the doors and trim of the Louis XIV military quarters. In view of the fact that SHAEF is the principal military group involved, it was agreed that the Monuments Officers of SHAEF should handle the problem. ♦ ♦ ♦
GAPS FOUND IN MANY COLLECTIONS
[Capt Marvin C. Ross, Deputy Adviser, MFA&A Report to Chief, G-5, Opns Branch, 26 Sep 44, SHAEF files, 130.21, MFA&A Rpt, Jkt I ]
♦ ♦ ♦
a. Museums: The Musees Nationaux are said to be intact. The
Musee de l'Armee lost about 2000 objects to the Germans. A copy of the German
report is being made for the MFA&A Section of SHAEF. Certain Provincial Museums
that did not evacuate their collections suffered losses due to operations.
b. Archives: Certain archives such as those of Lorraine are stated to have been removed by the Germans. Other archives as in Normandy (for example, St. Lo) have suffered due to operations and because they had not been removed to places of safety.
c. Libraries: Books do not appear in general to have been taken from National libraries. The report that certain Carolingian Manuscripts had been removed from the Bibliotheque National was neither denied nor affirmed. The removal of the former Librarian would have made any definite statement difficult at this early period.
d. Private Collections: Personal visits were made to two private collections, Mon. Marquet de Vesselot and Mon. Poulhae, who appear not to have suffered any losses. It was reported, however, that many other private collections in Paris had been looted for removal to Germany, particularly Jewish collections. ♦ ♦ ♦
The French were highly concerned about the Chateau at Valencay (Indre) where the Venus de Milo, the Nike of Samothrace, and other famous sculptures from the Louvre were stored. Brigadier Lee dispatched a message to G-5, SHAEF, Forward, to request that it be given protection in any possible operations. . . .
The French officials expressed appreciation of what the MFA&A officers with the Armies and the Communications Zone had been able to accomplish for them.
FRENCH RAPIDLY TAKING OVER
[Ltr Asst ExecO, Hq ComZ to ACofS, G-5, SHAEF, 2 Oct 44, 7 SHAEF files, G-5, 130.21, Jkt I]
2. General Situation. The Communications Zone has been operating with very few Monuments Specialist Officers. Transportation has been difficult due to the rapid movement of our armies,
and the necessity for vehicles and gasoline for more pressing
needs. Notwithstanding, the work is progressing and is being gradually finished
a. New directives place the responsibility in the hands of French authorities to check and report to this Headquarters for forwarding to SHAEF....
b. Monuments, particularly chateaux, are being placed "Off Limits" to military personnel by Section Commanders where situation demands. (Usually checked by Monuments Specialist Officers.) ♦ ♦ ♦
3. Policy and Operation.
Monuments, Fine Arts and Archives.
a. SHAEF directs policy for entire Allied Military Zone (to Communications Zone through G-5 Section, Headquarters Communications Zone).
b. French Mission contacts Ministries and Agencies on the National level and transmits policies via G-5 Section, Headquarters Communications Zone.
c. G-5 Section, Headquarters Communications Zone, supervises the operations in its Base Sections. ♦ ♦ ♦
HITLER VIOLATES HIS OWN ART COMMISSIONER'S AGREEMENT
[MFA&A Officer, 2d Br Army, Rpt, 15 Oct 44, SHAEF files, G-5, 130.21, Jkt I]
♦ ♦ ♦ The most outstanding point in information received suggests again the apparent integrity of Count Metternich, German Commission for the Protection of Art in France and Belgium. This official drew up an agreement early in 1942 between the German Military Authorities, the French Ministry of Education and the Belgian owners of those works of art sheltered in France to the effect that access to the latter was prohibited excepting with the written consent of the three parties of the agreement. The fact that this was broken by [Adolph] Hitler, through his emissary on 3 August 1942 when he removed the Van Eycks from Pau with [Pierre] Laval's complicity, led Metternich to protest vigorously to his government, causing his eventual dismissal. ♦ ♦ ♦
MFA&A OFFICERS AMBASSADORS OF GOOD WILL
[Notes, Adviser, MFA&A, for ExecO, G-5, SHAEF, 29 Jan 45, SHAEF files, G-5, 751, Jkt 4]
Work in Forward Areas
The work of MFA&A officers in France has been and still is of a kind difficult to express statistically though MFA&A officer with British and U.S. Communications formations are said to have visited 901 towns and 1827 sites since the beginning of operations. In areas of active operations, e.g., in Normandy during June, July and August and now in Alsace-Lorraine, the monuments officers with the advanced formations are in a position to help the French authorities, especially the officials of the Service des Monuments Historiques and the Archivistes Departementales [sic] to resume their functions, to smooth the way for these officials with the military authorities in circumstances where the scale of purely military activity might otherwise have made it impossible for their services to function at all. The numerous inspections of monuments carried out by the MFA&A officers which included nearly all the Monuments scheduled by the French authorities as of importance enabled them to call the attention of the appropriate authorities to urgent tasks which, without the MFA&A officers' visits, would not have come to their notice owing to dislocated communications, etc. Unlike the MFA&A Service in Italy, very little direct action as to first-aid repairs has been taken and the policy has been always to help the French help themselves. On occasion, however, the MFA&A officers have been able to obtain for the French badly needed supplies of roofing material from captured enemy stocks for urgent first-aid repairs.
2. Mitigation of Effects of Air Attack
It is difficult to estimate how far the comparative immunity of the greater cathedrals of France from damage by bombing has been due to the efforts of the Allied Air Forces based on the information supplied them by SHAEF at their request, but certainly such information was sought by the Air Staff and supplied, and except for the Cathedral of St. Lo and to a lesser degree Rouen, the greater Gothic monuments of northern France have escaped comparatively lightly. The same may be said of the Depots of the National Museums, the positions of which the Air Staff was warned in May 1944
This is a constant preoccupation of MFA&A officers both in forward areas and in lines of communications and these latter include the Paris area and a large part of the most celebrated parts of France. The problem shows no sign of becoming less insistent and has assumed new proportions with the onset of winter. The work of MFA&A officers in this respect has not been
confined to the buildings listed by SHAEF as immune from military use but has included visits to innumerable other buildings of historic importance where troops have been in occupation and where a satisfactory adjustment of difficulties has been reached through the good offices of MFA&A. Requests for the evacuation or regulation of military use of particular buildings put forward by the French are constantly being dealt with at all levels of the MFA&A organization. On occasion it has been possible for MFA&A to take action in cases where the French, out of politeness or a desire not to seem grudging to the U.S./Br forces, had allowed the use of National Monuments against their own better judgment; the occupation of the Chateau de Rambouillet is an outstanding example.
The most important aspect of the MFA&A work in France is the most intangible, the exhibition of good will on the part of the Military authorities toward an aspect of French national life and sentiment of which the French themselves are especially conscious. The French have been given a feeling that their National possessions and sentiments are not a matter of indifference to us and that we are prepared to do all that is in our power to help them to preserve their inheritance which has been endangered twice in five years.
3. A GOOD JOB IN SOUTHERN FRANCE TOO
WAR DEPARTMENT REPRESENTATIVE, MFA&A, MAKES RECOMMENDATIONS
[Ltr, WD Representative to ACofS, G-5, AFHQ, 11 Jul 44, 8 CAD files, 000.4 (3-25-43), sec. 3]
4. . . . relative to Force 163 [Seventh Army] being developed under Col. H. S. Gerry, with special reference to the MFA&A Section.... I am not familiar with the extent of this proposed operation but have gained certain information . . . which leads me to somewhat of a conclusion. The southern part of France, including such areas as Avignon, Arles, mimes, Narbonne, Beziers, Montpellier, is crowded with historic structures, art centers, museums and churches. Due to the Italian influence during the X to XVII centuries, this area assumes nearly as great an importance as portions of Northern Italy.
5. Realizing this condition, I made certain suggestions to Lt. Col. Mitchell relative to the T/O for the MFA&A Section, which suggestion I wish to re-emphasize herein.
6. A minimum of six (6) officers will be necessary to undertake the work. These might be divided as follows: 3 Museum Specialists, I Art Historian, I Rehabilitation Specialist, I Architect.
7. This subdivision would give you a balanced team and provide expert advice for any problem encountered. If possible they should speak French and be familiar with the portion of France over which they will operate. This is nearly an essential requirement.
9. In addition to the six (6) officers required there should be one and one half enlisted men for each officer-or a total of nine (9) in this case. The volume of clerical work in connection with MFA&A matters is tremendous and efficient operation will depend somewhat upon the clerical personnel. Vehicles should be supplied on the basis of one (1) to each two (2) officers the drivers being from the EM noted above.
10. Definite plans should be made for the taking of photographs since the pictorial record will be of great importance-this is one of our very trying problems here. ♦ ♦ ♦
FINE ARTS EXPERTS WILL NOT BE ASSIGNED TO TACTICAL UNITS
[Ltr, CO, 2678th CA Regt (Adv) to ACofS, G-5, 9 Aug 44, SHAEF files, G-5, Hist, 60, Jkt VI, J-335]
1. Special attention had been given to measures required for safeguarding monuments and other artistic treasures from damage or destruction in course of operations, or as a result of careless, uninformed action on the part of Allied troops.
2. The CG, Seventh Army, has already published a letter to commanders similar to that issued by the CinC NATO on 29 December 5943. In addition, a further instruction is in course of publication, directing commanders to secure from Civil Affairs Headquarters sufficient copies of
lists of Arts and Monuments in the area of operations to insure distribution down to battalion level [lists were issued 14 August 1944].
3. Administrative Instruction No. I, Hq. Seventh Army, 10 published about 14 July 1944, contains specific instructions regarding buildings having historical, religious, or cultural value which may not be occupied by troops.
4. A competent Fine Arts and Monuments officer is stationed at Civil Affairs Hq. After thorough consideration it has been decided not to send Fine Arts experts into the field with tactical units, as it has been found by experience that such experts do not obtain as full consideration from their commanders as do the regular CAO's attached to staffs of unit commanders. CAO's with tactical units have been thoroughly briefed on their duties with respect to the care and protection of Arts and Monuments.
FRENCH REQUEST CIVIL AFFAIRS AID IN SAFEGUARDING ART TREASURES
[Ltr, Cochet, Mil Delegate for Southern Theater of Opns, to CG, Seventh Army, 22 Aug 44, SHAEF files, G-5, Hist, 60, Jkt VI J-36]
The Allied Military Command . . . is in a better position than any other authority to determine the situation in liberated France with regard to art treasures and the destruction thereof already brought about.
I am directing all responsible Prefects to send me all the information they are able to gather on this subject.
Nevertheless, it seems to me that the proper services of your headquarters would be able to furnish us useful additional information. I should be very grateful, therefore, if you would kindly send me a copy of any information you may be able to obtain on this matter.
Your co-operation in the work of safeguarding our national artistic heritage will allow me to take the urgent measures which I consider essential, and I should be most grateful if you would kindly issue the necessary instructions.
DESTRUCTION IN MILITARY ZONE REDUCED TO A MINIMUM
[Ltr, G-5 Sec, ComZ to ACofS, G-5, SHAEF, 15 Sep 44, SHAEF files, G-5, 130.04, Fr, MFA&A]
♦ ♦ ♦ Because of the rapid advance of our armies, destruction has been reduced to a minimum and large sections of the military zone are free from blemish.
Additional Monuments Officers have been called to the
Communications Zone and placed at Section Headquarters....
All French officials, whatever their political creed, are co-operating to the fullest extent.
As all monuments, fine arts and archives in France are now their responsibility, an arrangement is being worked out whereby French officials will report all damage to this Headquarters immediately for notation and forwarding to SHAEF.
[Memo, CO, CAHQ, Sixth AGp for PRO, 24 Sep 44, SHAEF files, G-5, 523, Opns Rpts]
♦ ♦ ♦ Most of the monuments and fine arts collections in Southern France seem to have escaped serious damage despite many instances of deliberate attempts by the Germans to destroy priceless works of art dating back to Roman and medieval days. ♦ ♦ ♦
NO SERIOUS DAMAGE IN ARLES-AVIGNON AREA
[Summary 5, CAHQ, Sixth AGp, 23 Sep 44, CAD files, 000.4 (3-25-43) (I), sec. 5]
A recent tour of inspection by the Fine Arts and Archives Officer of this Headquarters in the Arles and Avignon area revealed that there has been but slight damage to the various monuments and cultural institutions there. While the local authorities were most cordial and helpful, there appeared to be a hesitancy on their part to reveal the depots where the more valuable collections are stored. This is apparently due to German propaganda to the effect that the Americans and British would loot officially the richer treasures of the country. A discussion with a representative of General Cochet resulted in the French agreeing to share their information as to the location of these depots.
In Arles, some damage was caused to the Church of St. Julien as well as to the Amphitheatre. The chapel of Notre Dame de la Major suffered severe damage. A great number of paintings and valuable collections here had been removed for safe storage.
At Montmajour, the Germans had used the Abbey as a depot for approximately 80,000 weapons. On their retreat they attempted to destroy these arms by fire, causing smoke damage to the interior of the Church.
The city of Tarascon was badly damaged by bombs directed at the bridges. While the Church of St. Marthe suffered some serious injury, the French are already at work collecting the fragments and making emergency repairs and now feel that the Church can be restored because of
the excellent documentation of the monument. The Castle of Roi-Reno, while very near the bridge, miraculously escaped damage, although it is necessary to remove about half a ton of explosives that the Germans stored there.
At Avignon, there was extensive destruction outside the city walls but only minor damage within. It appears that the Germans deliberately damaged Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Porte Notre Dame at Pernes and the Roman bridge at Vaisonla-Romaine. There has been some slight damage to a few other monuments, but as a whole this city's historic collections survived destruction. 11 ♦ ♦ ♦
MORE DAMAGE IN TOWNS ALONG THE RHONE THAN ON THE COAST
[Spec Fld Rpt, 21 Oct 44, CAD files, 000.4 (3-25-43) (I), sec 5]
♦ ♦ ♦ more damage has been found in the towns on the banks of the Rhone than in the Departments less strategically placed from a military viewpoint. But here, as elsewhere, the Services des Beaux-Arts have continued to function and repairs are in progress, with all necessary measures being taken to conserve those buildings which have been damaged.
No reports have come to the attention of the Fine Arts and Archives officer of any further losses from museums, libraries or archives. The various Prefectures visited have all been grateful for the evidence of Allied interest in the preservation of French monuments and all have offered complete cooperation in fulfilling the requests for information.♦ ♦ ♦
A hasty survey of the Departments of Var and Alpes-Maritimes revealed that, in spite of extensive damages in the coastal area, the monuments there have largely escaped serious damage. Both Toulon and Frejus have suffered from shelling and bombing but a full report was not available on the condition of the monuments. In the places visited further inland, no appreciable damages were apparent or reported. ♦ ♦ ♦
The museum collections and archives of the Department of Tarn remained in place and have suffered no losses or damage. Further, progress for the restoration and remodeling of a number of monuments in Tarn are in some cases already under way. . . . A CA officer at Toulouse also reports that various local officials have stated no damages were occasioned there as a result of the war. ♦ ♦ ♦
ART TREASURES SUFFERED LITTLE FROM EITHER GERMAN OR ALLIED OCCUPATION
[History of Civil Affairs Operations, DRAGOON, SH AEF files, G-5, 60, Jkt V, pt. VIII]
♦ ♦ ♦ Despite the precautions taken to avoid it, there were, possibly unavoidably, many incidents after the landings when Allied troops occupied historic chateaus and other monuments and, possibly, were less than careful in their treatment of them. The damage done was not great, however.
In general, surveys made by the Fine Arts and Monuments Officer throughout all Southern France showed that that area had suffered little from German occupation insofar as its art treasures were concerned. Some evidence was unearthed, though, that the Germans actually did go to the lengths of establishing a "clearing house" for cataloguing and routing through to the homeland the treasures they looted from France. Fortunately, though, the activities of this and similar units set up elsewhere seem to have been limited in scope. ♦ ♦ ♦
4. ART OFFICERS TO THE RESCUE IN BELGIUM, THE NETHERLANDS AND NORWAY
BELGIAN ART APPROPRIATED BY NAZI CHIEFS
[MFA&A Officer, 2d Br Army, Report for Period Ending 16 Sep 44, SHAEF files, G-5, 130.21, Jkt I]
The outstanding information is that of an apparent rivalry between Hitler and [Reichsmarschall Hermann ] Goering over the theft of the famous Van Eyck painting in the Cathedral of Ghent known as "Agneau Mystique." This work, together with other of the most valuable art treasures of Belgium had been sent to the Museum at Pau in the south of France for eventual removal to the Vatican for safekeeping. In 1941 Goering sent a personal delegate to bring it back to Berlin; evidently the "Fuhrer" took umbrage, for on 3 Aug 42 his own emissary arrived at the Pau Depository with the most intransigent orders, sanctioned by Laval, and removed the entire reredos to Germany. Almost simultaneously the two panels of the reredos at the Church of St.
Pierre at Louvain, painted by van der Weyden, were taken and are now in the same refuge in Germany. The final known theft is that of the Michaelangelo "Virgin and Child" statue from the Cathedral at Bruges, a deed performed just before evacuation of the city. ♦ ♦ ♦
[MFA&A Officer, 1st Canadian Army, Report for Period Ending 30 Sep 44, SHAEF files, G-5, 130.21, Jkt I]
5. c. In the summer of 1942 the Germans insisted by threats
that the Vichy Government hand over to them the Van Eyck "Adoration of the Lamb"
which was at Pau. This was agreed to without the Belgians being informed. On 3
Aug 42 Dr. Buchner (Hitler's personal emissary) removed the picture to
f. On the night of 7-8 Sep the Germans removed the Michelangelo statue of the Virgin and Child together with eleven pictures from the Church of Notre Dame in Bruges.
7. . . . The names of the officers and men believed to have been concerned in the removal of the works of art from Bruges have been notified to SCAO to be passed to the appropriate authorities so that if any of them are taken prisoner arrangements may be made for special interrogation. ♦ ♦ ♦
FIRST ARMY FINDS CACHE OF DUTCH ART
[MFA&A Officers, FUSA, Rpt, 20 Sep 44, SHAEF files, G-5, 130.21, Jkt I]
3. The collection housed in this repository [St. Pietersburg] consists largely of paintings, drawings, and prints of Netherlandish and Flemish masters, XV to XX centuries. There are, in addition, many works by Italian masters and a smaller number of English, French, German and Spanish origin. Paintings alone number about 800. A limited number of archives are placed here (boxed), also textiles, ceramics, scientific specimens, and a few musical instruments (all boxes or in cases). . . . The general quality of the holdings is very high and the aggregate value is beyond estimate.
4. a. The condition of the paintings, on preliminary examination, is found to be good. .. . There is no evidence and no report of any accidental war damage.
WILL BELGIAN CHURCH BELLS RING AGAIN?
[ 1st Canadian Army, Rpt, 14 Oct 44, SHAEF files, G-5, 130.21, Jkt I ]
5. (a) The Germans first threatened to remove the bells from the churches in
1941 but desisted in the face of protests. They started again in 1943.
(b) Between May 43 and June 44, 4800 bells were taken down from churches in Belgium. .. . The whole number of bells in Belgium is not known but it is probably more than 12,000. The bells were mostly assembled at Antwerp and taken to Germany by water....
(c) About 800 of these bells are still in Belgium-the bulk having been found. . . . Mr. de Beer [head of the Commission for salvaging the Belgian bells] has a number of problems connected with the recovery of these bells; as they cover all Belgium I have recommended that he get in touch with the MFA&A officer at the Military Mission to Belgium. ♦ ♦ ♦
[MFA&A Officer, 2d Br Army, Rpt, 28 Oct 55, SHAEF files, C-5, 13 0.21, Jkt I ]
D. Belgian Carillon Bells. . . . A directive has been
received from 21 Army Group and 2d Army has issued instructions to Corps as
(1) During the War Germans have requisitioned a large number of bells and carillons and their accessories and have removed them to Germany for conversion into munitions. At the moment of liberation further material of this nature was in various places in course of transit to Germany.
(2) The Belgian Government is very anxious that such material of this nature as has been captured in transit shall be preserved. Later the question of material captured in Germany but not yet converted will arise.
(3) It is therefore requested that orders may be issued requiring the return of all such material to the Belgian Government when captured and, naturally, forbidding any further such requisition by British forces. The authorities possess records by which they can identify all such material.
IN THE NETHERLANDS, BILLETING OF TROOPS THE WORST DANGER TO ART
[SHAEF Mission Netherlands, Final Hist Rpt, 14 Jul 45]
♦ ♦ ♦ The most important function of this sub-section was to prevent the billeting of troops in buildings of historic value such as museums and old castles. . . . Few instances came to the attention of this sub-section . . . and such occurrences were all in the operational phase.
Many of the valuable works of art from the museums throughout the country were placed in the repository at St. Pietersberg, Limburg, and the specially constructed repository at Paaslo, Overijssel. ♦ ♦ ♦
A complete inventory of both repositories has been kept by the Dutch authorities. . . .
THE GERMANS TOOK EVEN MORE ART FROM NORWAY THAN WAS EXPECTED
[CA, G-5 Div, Hist Rpt, Allied Land Forces in Norway, 1-31 May 45, 12 SHAEF files G-5, 17.08, Norway, Jkt 2]
♦ ♦ ♦ The removal of art objects seems to have been more extensive than earlier anticipated, and 51 paintings have been removed by the Germans from the Royal Palace at Oslo. How many of these have been deported to Germany is unknown but details about their present location are now being collected. There have been removed by the Germans from the National Gallery 29 paintings, 21 by the Reichskommissariat and eight by the Einsatzstab Wegener. Of these, only three have been recovered. These were found in the flat of the Reichskommissar [Joseph] Terboven on 15 May. Members of the Resistance Movement and the police are helping in collecting details about all the objects removed. ♦ ♦ ♦
A circular has been sent out to all Norwegian museums and art galleries asking for details about removal by the Germans during the occupation.
OFFICIAL LISTS MAY DO AS MUCH HARM AS GOOD
[Gen Bd Study 36, p.34]
43. . . . a. The Official Lists of Monuments for liberated and occupied countries became as much a source of trouble as convenience to MFA&A officers. The very fact that a command authority was embodied in these lists worked to a disadvantage. It was tacitly assumed by both tactical and administrative higher authorities that their responsibilities toward monuments, fine arts, and archives ended with the items included. The original purpose of the lists was to act as a guide, rather than to define irrevocably the monuments to be accorded extra consideration. Authorities were extremely reluctant to order evacuation of buildings not on the Official Lists even though these structures might he superior to others officially protected.
44. . . . a. To counteract the situation, the MFA&A officers, First U.S. Army, drew up a command letter and form for the exemption of buildings from military use, which was approved and published by Hq, First U.S. Army, 4 February 1945 [see paragraph 51, below].
c. Though this innovation conferred a much needed discretionary authority upon the MFA&A officers within a single army area . . it became invalid so soon as that area was transferred to a different command authority. In order to supplement the Official Lists for Belgium and the Netherlands, SHAEF issued on 20 February 1945 two additional lists of buildings for these countries. . . .
d. A command form letter similar to that of the First U.S. Army was issued by the Fifteenth U.S. Army 8 April 1945. On 15 April, in order to avoid the necessity of reposting monuments in an area which had been occupied by five other major commands, Hq. Fifteenth U.S. Army issued a letter, the only one of its kind issued during the European campaign by any major headquarters, which provided that . . . protective measures taken in regard to historic/artistic monuments by authorized personnel of other Allied armies would be respected and obeyed by all military personnel within the area of the Fifteenth U.S. Army unless specifically removed or rescinded by . . . that headquarters.
THE MONUMENTS, FINE ARTS AND ARCHIVES PROGRAM-AN APPRAISAL
[ Gen Rd Study 36]
45. a. The planning by civilian agencies, though begun
relatively late when compared to the remainder of planning for the European
campaign, was successful and useful except for the lack of definition regarding
the actual duties of the MFA&A officer. The limitation of the MFA&A officer to
an advisory capacity without providing an adequate operational agency detached
him from the usual means of working effectively within the military
establishment and handicapped the MFA&A program.
b. Publications undertaken by civilian agencies were of considerable use to the MFA&A officer in the field though duplication . . . by both military and civilian agencies . . . impaired their utility.
46. a. The planning by military agencies was undertaken too
late, and with too few personnel, to be effectively integrated with overall
b. Operational exigencies were, on the
whole, correctly envisaged but the provision of means for
meeting these exigencies was not objective....
c. A more courageous and cooperative approach should have been made to the Air Forces. It is possible that the Air Forces would have been able to prevent inestimable destruction if the MFA&A program had been properly presented to them.
47. a. The overall policy in regard to Monuments, Fine Arts and Archives was both feasible of application and worthy of the best traditions, of the Allied Forces. ♦ ♦ ♦
48. . . . b. The greatest deficiency
in some of the personnel assigned or attached to the MFA&A organization
was a lack of (1) sufficient military training, including staff procedure; (2)
an aggressive approach to the MFA&A program within the military establishment.
c. Knowledge of the fine arts, as such, was proved on the whole to be not entirely necessary. ... Those with architectural training and engineer experience were perhaps best equipped to operate in the field....
d. The policy of procuring personnel through civilian agencies was successful insofar as it called attention to certain officers who had civilian qualifications though it failed to realize the essential combination of military and professional background.
e. Commissioning of enlisted personnel was a definite success. Enlisted men, by the time they achieved their commissions, were sufficiently trained in military procedures and had lost none of their civilian qualifications.
f. Deployment of personnel through the agency of the European Civil Affairs Division was a mistake.
49. a. MFA&A officers should have been provided with a means
of carrying out the policy of the Supreme Commander which was consistent and
authoritative for all echelons and areas....
b. Insufficient rank among MFA&A officers was a continuous major difficulty.
50. . . . a. The supplies of protective and restorative materials necessary for the accomplishment of
the MFA&A mission were completely inadequate.
b. Organizational equipment was completely inadequate.
51. . . . a. The Official Lists should have been prepared (i)
by officers having a full first-hand knowledge of the monuments themselves; (2)
with the consideration of preventing military occupation or damage by other
military means and the repairing of such damage fully in mind.
b. MFA&A officers were not given sufficient discretionary latitude or authority to act outside the Official Lists. This deficiency should have been remedied.
52. . . . Means of communication for the dissemination of information and intelligence between MFA&A officers at all echelons were impeded by insufficiency of personnel, both staff and operational, and the extent of the area covered.
53. General. The MFA&A policy, organization, and operations effected during the European campaign should, with necessary revisions, be continued in future planning of operations. ♦ ♦ ♦
Return to the Table of Contents
Last updated 18 February 2004