Page 39

NARA

MERKERS, GERMANY, APRIL 1945: Hidden inside the Merkers salt mine was Nazi Germany’s gold reserves and paper currency alongside all but the largest paintings from the KaiserFriedrich Museum in Berlin In today’s dollars, the value of the gold found in Merkers would be almost $5 billion.

President George W. Bush with the National Humanities Medal in 2007. In 2011, he was honored with the Texas Medal of Arts for Literature for his two books on the Monuments Men, but his work with the foundation remains his biggest passion. Edsel focuses on bringing appropriate visibility to a forgotten accomplishment. “It is to convey a message about a time when we had these enormously important selfless people. Even the 40- and 50-year-olds, who were schoolteachers, art professors and artists, thought, ‘Damn it, we have a contribution to make, too,” he says. “It’s not just 20-year-old guys going into war, we can do something to help win this war and preserve freedom. And it’s for the arts, and we want to help.’” He believes the significance of the monuments officers’ work stretches well beyond World War II. “The issue of preservation of cultural treasures is on the front page of our newspapers every single day whether it’s Syria, Mali,

ACERNO, ITALY, SEPTEMBER 1943: Pvt, Paul Oglesby of the 30th Infantry Regiment pauses to observe this severely damaged church, an all-too-common scene throughout Italy.

and Cairo — that issue is not going away.” In the meantime, he says hundreds of thousands of documents and important works of art remain lost. “That’s a huge role of the Monuments Men Foundation: to illuminate the path home for these missing works of art.” As a speaker, Edsel is in demand, lecturing 15 to 20 times a year. With the release of the new film, he believes that will increase dramatically over the next year. He estimates that he’s addressed 30,000 people in just the past six years, including presentations at presidential libraries and almost every major museum in America including the Art Institute in

Chicago, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., and The National World War II Museum in New Orleans as well as at universities and some private businesses. “It’s a wonderful story and an absolute privilege for me to represent these men and women, to tell their story, be an advocate for them and really honor them by putting that legacy to use,” says Edsel. “I wonder if people would make those kinds of sacrifices today? I hope so — I don’t know, and I hope we don’t find out.”

D A L L A S H OT E L M A G A Z I N E

37

Dallas Hotel Magazine - Winter 2014  

In this issue, we profile Kay Bailey Hutchison, one of the most recognizable figures in Texas politics. We also take a look at some forward-...

Dallas Hotel Magazine - Winter 2014  

In this issue, we profile Kay Bailey Hutchison, one of the most recognizable figures in Texas politics. We also take a look at some forward-...