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Nazi art looting, Art restitution, MFA&A, Monuments men, Holocaust

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College of Arts Humanities and Social Sciences, History


In recent years, the work of the American Monuments Men has been celebrated in popular histories and culture, such as bestselling books by Robert Edsel and a feature film directed by George Clooney (The Monuments Men, 2014). While public awareness of Nazi art looting and the courageous work of American cultural officers is long overdue, these popular narratives elide the role played by women and other Western Allies and fail to address the corps’ greatest failure: the incomplete restitution of Jewish assets. This article explores these factors through a case study of British Major Anne Olivier Popham (1916–2018), who served the Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives (MFA&A) division in Bünde from November 1945 to October 1947. Drawing on Popham’s diaries held at the Imperial War Museum in London, the author’s interview with her, and British and American archives, the case study yields important insight into personnel recruited by the MFA&A, gender relations among the officers, methodological dilemmas presented by the use of first-hand accounts, and the ongoing need for transnational restitution efforts.

Publication Statement

This article was originally published as:

Campbell, E. (2021). Monuments women and men: Rethinking popular narratives via British Major Anne Olivier Popham. International Journal of Cultural Property, 28(3), 409-424. doi:10.1017/S0940739121000308

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Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 International License.