Excerpt from “Monuments Men” by Robert M. Edsel ~~Rembrandt~~

The only visible memento of Harry’s war years is a small photograph on a nearby end table. Taken in the Heilbronn mine in early 1946, it shows Monuments officer Lieutenant Dale Ford and (recently promoted) Sergeant Harry Ettlinger staring down at a self-portrait by Rembrandt. The painting is perched on a mine cart, with the rock walls and steel rails of the mine clearly visible. In 1946, the photograph was used by the army for promotional purposes and reprinted around the world. The caption simply said, “American soldiers with a Rembrandt.” No one seemed interested in the fact that the painting was the Rembrandt from the museum in Karlsruhe, and that the nineteen-year-old soldier standing next to it was a German Jew who had grown up three blocks from that museum, and by chance had descended seven hundred feet into a mine to behold, for the first time, a painting he had always heard about, but never had the right to see.

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1 Comment

Filed under Art, Literature, Military, Non-Fiction

One response to “Excerpt from “Monuments Men” by Robert M. Edsel ~~Rembrandt~~

  1. Harry Ettlinger was born in Karlsruhe on 28 January 1926, and fled the Jewish persecution immigrating to America in 1938. He became a Monuments Man in 1945, and was aged just 19 years of age at the time the photograph was taken.
    This self-portrait by Rembrandt, was painted around 1645-8. Rembrandt, born 15 July 1606, would have been about 39 years of age at the time.
    The Monuments Men is an intriguing tale of perseverance and dedication by these selected men to recover stolen art during and after the Second World War.
    Refer to http://www.monumentsmen.com for more information about this extraordinary story.

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