Saving Italy: The Race to Rescue a Nation's Treasures from the Nazis
Robert M. Edsel
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
From the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller The Monuments Men
"An astonishing account of a little-known American effort to save Italy's…art during World War II."―Tom Brokaw
When Hitler’s armies occupied Italy in 1943, they also seized control of mankind’s greatest cultural treasures. As they had done throughout Europe, the Nazis could now plunder the masterpieces of the Renaissance, the treasures of the Vatican, and the antiquities of the Roman Empire.
On the eve of the Allied invasion, General Dwight Eisenhower empowered a new kind of soldier to protect these historic riches. In May 1944 two unlikely American heroes―artist Deane Keller and scholar Fred Hartt―embarked from Naples on the treasure hunt of a lifetime, tracking billions of dollars of missing art, including works by Michelangelo, Donatello, Titian, Caravaggio, and Botticelli. With the German army retreating up the Italian peninsula, orders came from the highest levels of the Nazi government to transport truckloads of art north across the border into the Reich. Standing in the way was General Karl Wolff, a top-level Nazi officer. As German forces blew up the magnificent bridges of Florence, General Wolff commandeered the great collections of the Uffizi Gallery and Pitti Palace, later risking his life to negotiate a secret Nazi surrender with American spymaster Allen Dulles.
Brilliantly researched and vividly written, the New York Times bestselling Saving Italy brings readers from Milan and the near destruction of The Last Supper to the inner sanctum of the Vatican and behind closed doors with the preeminent Allied and Axis leaders: Roosevelt, Eisenhower, and Churchill; Hitler, Göring, and Himmler.
An unforgettable story of epic thievery and political intrigue, Saving Italy is a testament to heroism on behalf of art, culture, and history.
61 illustrations; 3 maps
The successful efforts . . . necessitate the highest gratitude from both the Allies and the Italians.” THE FIRST MONUMENTS officer stationed in Italy—Mason Hammond—was transferred to London in early 1944. There he worked with Francis Henry Taylor, Vice-Chairman of the Roberts Commission, to develop a restitution policy for postwar Germany. In August 1945, Hammond established the MFAA office in Berlin, where he struggled to stay ahead of the constant personnel needs posed by the discovery of tens
Rheinprovinz (Cologne: Rheinisches Amt für Denkmalpflege in Verbindung mit dem Rheinischen Landesmuseum Bonn, 1991), 19. 70 On January 1, 1915 Otto von Falke, “Die Einrichtung des Kunstschutzes auf den deutschen Kriegsschauplätzen,” Kunstschutz im Kriege, 12. 70 “Cultural goods and art” Paul Clemen, “Die Denkmalpflege im Urteil des Auslands” (refers to article in Berliner Lokal Anzeiger, 8.X.1914), Kunstschutz im Kriege, 121. 70 the University of Louvain Library E. Lousse, The University of
on Rome. The distance, just 140 road miles, seemed tantalizingly short, but the topography and wet weather favored the defenders fighting under Generalfeldmarschall Kesselring.* The German commander used the terrain to his advantage, establishing a series of heavily fortified defensive lines that ran perpendicular, like ribs across the mountainous “spine” stretching the length of Italy. This slowed Allied progress to a crawl, creating costly stalemates. German troops would fight a ferocious
city seeking the support of a wealthy patron or atelier. Since the early 1300s, the prosperous university town of Padua had drawn such talent. After being adopted by his teacher, Francesco Squarcione, an older Paduan painter, Mantegna enrolled in the local painters guild in 1441 at just ten years of age. Eight years later, he began painting the walls of the Ovetari family chapel, located in the Church of the Eremitani. The frescoes depicted the lives of St. James and St. Christopher. Mantegna’s
Domenico Tardini—Deputy Secretary of State for Extraordinary Affairs—the following day, and then representatives of the Christian Democratic Party on Monday. During those meetings, Anelli pleaded for the Vatican to assist the resistance fighters, either directly or through the party. Cagiati reported that Don Anelli had done an excellent job establishing his credibility and explaining why the Vatican needed to take immediate action. He wrote: “The news that large numbers of partisans are fighting