Showing posts with label S. Lane Faison. Show all posts
Showing posts with label S. Lane Faison. Show all posts

May 20, 2021

Readings in Nazi looted art: The Rape of Europa by Lynn Nicholas

 Voss would now channel his purchase funds, which would surpass those spent by Posse, through his own trusted agents, principal among whom was Hildebrand Gurlitt...

- The Rape of Europa: The Fate of Europe's Treasures in the Third Reich and the Second World War by Lynn Nicholas


Despite their disgust the OSS and MFAA men were human. Craig Smyth, who later had to supervise the house arrest of Hermann Voss, found it difficult to treat so eminent a scholar as a criminal and had him report daily to someone else. Monuments officer Charles Parkhurst, sent to question the widow of Hans Posse, whom he found living on the proceeds of sales of the pathetic contents of two suitcases of family bibelots, described her as a “gentle, elderly person” and broke off his interrogation when she began to weep. In the few answers she did provide it was clear that she was very proud of her husband’s accomplishments. She even showed Parkhurst photographs of Hitler at Posse’s state funeral, but of his actual transactions she clearly knew nothing.

The Rape of Europa: The Fate of Europe's Treasures in the Third Reich and the Second World War by Lynn Nicholas


 Plaut doubted that Bruno Lohse had really known the extent of Goering’s evildoing and noted that both he and Fräulein Limberger had become despondent when all was revealed. Rousseau and Faison too, after weeks of questioning Miss Limberger, were convinced that despite the fact that she had read the damning daily correspondence from Hofer to Goering, she bore no blame. When they had finished with her, Faison could not bring himself to leave her at the squalid internment camp to which she had been assigned and instead asked her where she would like to go. She named the Munich dealer Walter Bornheim, he of the suitcases full of francs, and a principal supplier to both Linz and Goering. Faison consented, and left her at the military post in Gräfelfing, where Bornheim lived.


The Rape of Europa: The Fate of Europe's Treasures in the Third Reich and the Second World War by Lynn Nicholas

May 17, 2021

Buried for more than half a century

Altaussee Salt/Art Mine discovery after WW II
Lieutenants Kern & Sieber, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

What must it have been like for Samson Lane Faison, Jr., James S. Plaut, Theodore Rousseau, Jr. and Jean Vlug to watch their reports on Nazi art looting and art dealer networks be buried and lost?


The ALIU reports contained names, dates, places, specific events, artworks - crucial information for tracking down looted art. 

All classified. Hidden away. Inaccessible. Unknown. Unexplored.

What lesson could these museum men possibly have learned from Washington's treatment of their historic work?

When, in 2001, the reports were to be published on microfiche, Dr. Greg Bradsher contacted S. Lane Faison, to tell him the news that their work would finally be public and to ask permission to give Faison's phone number to journalists who might want to know more. Bradsher described the conversation in a blog post for the National Archives:

On April 23, 2001, I phoned Professor Faison and told him the National Archives was issuing the next day a press release announcing the release of Microfilm Publication M-1782, “OSS Art Looting Investigation Unit Reports, 1945-46.”  I told him the microfilmed records—including the detailed, consolidated, and final reports—were being made available on May 8, the 56th anniversary of the U.S. Army’s discovery of the salt mine at Alt Aussee, Austria, where the greatest concentration of Nazi plunder from Western Europe was concealed.  I asked him if he minded me making his phone number available if I received press inquiries about the records and the work of the ALIU.  He said at his age it was tough enough to get up to change the television channel, much less answer the phone regarding things he had done ages ago and which were well-documented in the records we were making available. So, yes, he did mind.

-  "An Office of Strategic Services Monuments Man: S. Lane Faison"

 This is the seventh in an ongoing series of posts on real-life Monuments Men. Today’s post is by Dr. Greg Bradsher. See related posts on Sir Charles Leonard WoolleyWalter J. HuchthausenSeymour J. PomrenzeMason HammondEdith Standen, and Karol Estreicher.