Rose Valland, Uber SPY
Before ‘Monuments Men’ there was real life Rose Valland who, for four yrs, risked her life daily while working at Paris’ Jeu de Paume (where Nazi’s hoarded their stolen art treasures) under Nazi eyes as they stole and shipped out priceless artworks. Valland, who unknown to the Germans, spoke German, kept logs of what was stolen, where it was shipped, when and even alerted the Resistance (often getting messages to the SOE to prevent Allied bombing of trains laden with priceless works). Post WWII Valland scoured Europe helping retrieve lost art even managing to get into Germany and commandeering a much-needed freight train near Goering’s chateau to retrieve two famed marble Lions.
I have yet to see the current Monuments Men, and might not. I will however track down the film from the 60’s as that seems to be a classic!
Lingering questions: One thing that puzzles me is why there is no statue to Rose Valland. I’ve heard one possible explanation might be that while much looted artwork was recovered, far more still hangs in museums and other locales and has yet to be returned to rightful owners. Yet another of History’s seemingly irreconcilable, complex and sticky dilemmas. Perhaps a subject for another video? What say thee?