The Monument Men

By Nick Maker

No, not the movie The Monument Men. I’m talking about the actual history on those guys that saved priceless art from all over Europe. Sure the movie is based on a true story, but I’m going to give you a little detail of who were those guys that saved the arts and what was the history behind it. Now, this topic is more of a history lesson rather than a movie review, just to remind you all.

In 1944 at almost the end of the war, Americans and especially the British know that museum monuments have been destroyed, and the arts that were in there were either destroyed or captured by Nazis. Both nations decide to send a team of seventeen men to recover the lost artifacts safely before they are lost forever!

One man named George Stout leads the team named “Monument Men” who try to recover the paintings in Brussels, Italy, Germany, and Poland. If they don’t recover the artifacts until the end of the war, Hitler will most likely order his men to destroy the paintings due to his death and final punishment to the ally forces.

They search all over Europe hoping to find out some clues until finally they had a lead of a French spy. They head on to some mines, mainly copper and salt mines. They do accomplish the job and they recover over 6,577 paintings, 2,300 drawings, 954 prints, 137 sculptures including the “Madonna,” 129 arms and armor, 79 baskets of objects, 484 of archives materials, 78 pieces of furniture, 122 tapestries, 1,200-1,700 books, and only 283 cases were unknown or either destroyed by them. If they hadn’t recovered it all, the “Trophy Brigade” (the Russians) was about to steal them back to their homeland. Now I will compare the movie and the actual history of these brave men.

The movie was pretty good on average scale – it seems that I was watching a history lesson rather than the story, which it isn’t a bad thing; in fact I don’t mind listening and learning about the story that they were portraying. The movie really showed me about caring for art since I don’t really visit the museums that often, but it makes me feel that I want to revisit them.

One of the quotes that I love is when George gave a speech to his squad about the reason they want to protect the arts: “People will always rise up to their ashes and find a way to live, but art can’t… without these kinds of people who made those sculptures that our generations can watch throughout the years and if they are destroyed, is like they never even existed.”

The only problem I have for this movie is that in some scenes some of the characters can be a bit silly at times. I don’t know if the actual ones are really like that, but it provides humorous tone to the scenes. I still recommend for everybody to watch the movie because it’s not only historically accurate and fun to learn, but is an awakening to the souls of arts!

About Nick…
“I am a studious person who loves reading and loves researching about virtually anything! I play the piano and every year I have to give a performance in a church. I love video games – especially when it’s a puzzle and action game. I would like to become a programmer one day in the field of computer science. I love my family so much, even if we drive each other crazy sometimes, we’re still one big happy family.”

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