Just days before George Clooney brings the drama and action of one of the greatest treasure hunts in history to life in the feature film “The Monuments Men,” NGC presents the true story of this unlikely World War II “band of brothers.”
June 1944. D-Day. The largest military operation of World War II is underway. One million allied men and women fight to liberate Europe’s conquered people. Just 345 men and women fight to save Europe’s soul and identity.
This is the true story of an unlikely group of heroes – a group of middle-aged scholars, academics, historians, and architects thrust into the frontline of the bloodiest war in history. Their mission? To prevent the annihilation of a thousand years of European art and culture.
We tell the story of their unique war – a battle fought on two fronts – against a totalitarian regime which sanctioned the unilateral destruction of historic buildings, manuscripts, and paintings; and the struggle against their own forces who in the greatest battle for freedom the world has ever seen, saw the destruction of Europe’s greatest monuments and art works as inevitable, unavoidable, and sometimes necessary casualties of war.
Making use of extensive archive sources, photographs, journals and letter extracts, this documentary will tell the personal stories of a select number of Monuments Men – bringing to life their struggle to rescue Europe’s art.
Beginning with Omaha beach in 1944 and ending in the desperate last days of the Soviet advance on Berlin in 1945 we chart the remarkable journey of an overlooked group of men and women who sought to save, recover, and return millions of irreplaceable pieces of art stolen by the Nazis during WWII.
A leading cast of contributors, including historians and relatives of these remarkable men, bring to life each character and identify the breakthrough moments in what became the greatest treasure hunt the world has ever known.
Tune in to Hunting Hitler’s Stolen Treasures: The Monuments Men tonight at 7P on National Geographic Channel.