Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Monuments Men Series Part II: What is the Einsatzstab Reichsleiter Rosenberg?

For my second tribute post for the Monuments Men, I want to provide some background information, specifically on the Einsatzstab Reichsleiter Rosenberg or Operations Staff Reich Leader Rosenberg in English (ERR).

Seizure action of furniture and housing inventory, including beds, clothes and shoes, toys and household goods caused by the "Einsatzstab Reichsleiter Rosenberg" in France -. ERR-bearing in a Paris department store, magazine with pictures, taken from Bundesarchiv, B 323 Bild-311-031.
On January 29, 1940 (exactly 74 years ago today) Hitler ordered Alfred Rosenberg to become in charge of a task force to systematically plunder/confiscate the art of Europe (National Archives 2014; The ERR Project 2014).

During the Nuremberg Trials, American Colonel Robert G. Storey testified the following:
I now direct the attention of the tribunal to the activities of the Einsatzstab Rosenberg, an organization which planned and directed the looting of the cultural treasures of nearly all Europe. To obtain a full conception of the vastness of this looting program, it will be necessary to envision Europe as a treasure-house in which is stored the major portion of the artistic and literary product of two thousand years of Western civilization. It will further be necessary to envision the forcing of this treasure-house by a horde of vandals bent on systematically removing to the Reich these treasures, which are, in a sense, the heritage of all of us, to keep them there for the enjoyment and enlightenment of Germans alone. Unique in history, this art-seizure program staggers one's imagination and challenges one's credulity. The documents which I am about to offer in evidence will present undeniable proof of the execution of the policy to strip the occupied countries of the accumulated product of centuries of devotion to art and the pursuit of learning (National Archives 2014).

France, Paris -. "Furniture Action" seizure action of furniture and housing inventory, including beds, clothes and shoes, toys and household goods caused by the "Einsatzstab Reichsleiter Rosenberg" in France, the ERR Transportation -. Workers (prisoners of a concentration camp near Paris?) transhipment a wooden box under the supervision of a soldier and a civilian, taken from Bundesacrchiv, B 323 Bild-311-015

Colonel Storey also testified:
Nothing of value was safe from the grasp of the Einsatzstab. In view of the great experience of the Einsatzstab in the complex business of the organized plunder of a continent, its facilities were well suited to the looting of material other than cultural objects. Thus, when Rosenberg required equipment for the furnishing of the offices of the administration in the East, his Einsatzstab was pressed into action to confiscate Jewish homes in the West (National Archives 2014). 
 I embedded a video of the Nuremberg Trial regarding the confiscation of art by the ERR.
 This post directly relates to my next post on some of these pieces of art that are up for auction.


Des Bundesarchiv
2014  Picture Database.[view]=detail&search[focus]=76, accessed January 29, 2014.
National Archives
2014  The Einsatzstab Reichsleiter Rosenberg (ERR) Photographic Albums at the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg., accessed January 29, 2014.

The ERR Project
2014 Cultural Plunder by the Einsatzstab Reichsleiter Rosenberg., accessed January 29, 2014.