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New Jersey resident was one of the real-life 'Monuments Men'

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New Jersey resident was one of the real-life 'Monuments Men'

Post by silly girl on Wed Dec 04 2013, 14:54

One of the reasons I was interested in the book is because of the New Jersey connection.  Smile



New Jersey resident was one of the real-life 'Monuments Men'

Next year, Sony Pictures Entertainment and 20th Century Fox will release “The Monuments Men,” a feature film based on the true story of one of the most intriguing, yet still mostly unknown, benevolent endeavors of World War II — the recovery of Europe’s cultural treasures from Nazi looting and the ravages of war.

Harry Ettlinger, 87, is the youngest of just five surviving members of the Monuments Men, once a group of about 350 men and women from 13 Allied nations who worked in the retrieval effort.

“I’m advertising (the movie),” says Ettlinger, of Rockaway Township. “When I mention George Clooney to some ladies, smiles come to their lips.”

Clooney directs, produces and stars in the movie, which was filmed in Germany and the United Kingdom. The star-studded cast also includes Matt Damon, Cate Blanchett, Bill Murray, Jean Dujardin, Hugh Bonneville and John Goodman.

“It’s a great story and it’s a great part of our American history,” says Robert Edsel, author of “The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves, and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History” (Center Street, 2009). Edsel was a consultant on the film.

 Ettlinger, a German-born Jew, immigrated to Newark with his family in 1938, as Adolf Hitler’s power continued to grow. As a translator in the Monuments, Fine Arts and Archives program, Ettlinger helped uncover and return some of the more than 5 million paintings, sculptures and other cultural icons that had been seized and hidden away by the Third Reich. He continued to work with the MFAA until his honorable discharge in July 1946 (more than a year after the war ended in Europe).
“The names of the key characters have been changed (for the movie). There’s not one person who is Harry Ettlinger,” Edsel says. “But his story is present.”

Edsel says few people who gaze upon Leonardo da Vinci’s “Last Supper,” visit the French cathedral of Chartres or wander through the Louvre and other world-renowned museums stop to think about how so many monuments and great works of art survived the war. He hopes the movie will bring further attention to “the most unlikely group of heroes you’ve never heard of.”

“The movie is about a part of our history that we should be very proud of,” says Ettlinger. “We did the right thing in returning the stolen works of art to their rightful owners.”

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silly girl
Hi ho, hi ho, it's off to Clooney I go!

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