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Post by silly girl Sat 22 Feb 2014, 17:35

Ok Harry Ettlinger is just too cute for words....Love to hear more of his stories...it was one of the things that drew me in when I read the book:

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The other day, Harry Ettlinger took a hired car from his home in Rockaway Township, New Jersey, to a screening at the Center for Jewish History, in Greenwich Village. He was running late, but the movie—“The Monuments Men,” directed by George Clooney, starring Matt Damon, Cate Blanchett, Bill Murray, and Lord Grantham, from “Downton Abbey”—probably wouldn’t have started without him.

Ettlinger is, in his words, the only “healthy, living monument man” left. In his eighty-eight years, he’s had good timing. In 1938, he said, he “was the last bar-mitzvah boy in Karlsruhe, Germany, before the synagogue was burned down” during Kristallnacht; his rabbi granted the family permission to flee that day, even though it was the Sabbath. (His parents had been lucky enough to secure visas at the American consulate in Stuttgart on the final day that applications were accepted.) The Ettlingers sailed to America and ended up on Manhattan’s uppermost street, 218th, at Seaman Avenue.

Ettlinger joined the Army after he graduated from high school, in Newark, and became an American citizen in boot camp. On his nineteenth birthday, while he was in a truck heading east from France to southern Belgium, a sergeant came running and ordered him off the convoy. Ettlinger had been selected to be a translator at the trials at Nuremberg, but he hit Munich first and, bored by the waiting that characterizes war—“eating, sleeping, and goofing off,” as he puts it—volunteered his services to an American who needed help decoding German documents. That was James Rorimer, who went on to become a curator at the Metropolitan Museum. Hitler had been amassing art stolen from Jews for an eventual Führermuseum, an Albert Speer-designed complex that would include an opera house, a parade ground, and a Hitler hotel. Rorimer became one of the three hundred and forty-five people, from thirteen countries, who tracked down and returned more than five million looted art objects. Ettlinger was happy to join him.

Over a rushed supper, Ettlinger, who is bald and speaks with a heavy German accent, sat with Dorothy Kahan, his companion of ten years, and talked about his upcoming trip to Europe. He would meet Clooney at a special screening of “The Monuments Men” in Berlin. And Baden-Wuerttemberg, his home state, was bestowing upon him the rare Staufer Medal in Gold, its highest order of merit for service to the state. Speaking about his childhood to Rachel Lithgow, the director of the American Jewish Historical Society, he exclaimed, “I used to swim in the Rhine River!”

Kahan said, “Harry’s family goes back to the fifteen-hundreds in Germany.”

“Fourteen!” he corrected. “1450.”

In Karlsruhe, Ettlinger said, he planned to see the Rembrandt self-portrait that is the city’s pride and joy, a work that he, being Jewish, had not been able to visit as a child. His grandfather, a businessman who founded the local art society, got a print instead. During the war, Ettlinger recovered the print from the Nazis; his grandfather’s copy hangs in his living room in New Jersey.

He was modest about his achievements. “I was helpful in two salt mines, to see to it that nine hundred boxes out of forty thousand boxes were returned to the rightful owner outside of Germany,” he said. (The Nazis stored art, sculpture, tapestries, and other valuables plundered from state museums and private collections in salt mines and castles throughout Germany and Austria.) “That was my job: get those boxes with their art in them, O.K., and get ’em up in the elevator and see to it that they get put in the trucks.” He also sent the stained-glass windows of Strasbourg Cathedral, in seventy-three crates, back to Alsace. Elsewhere in the mines, he found firecrackers, which the Nazis planned to set off when Hitler won the war. He said that, before he left Germany, “I got some miners to light fireworks in the city of Heilbronn to celebrate the Fourth of July.”

During the screening, Ettlinger sat in the second row, between Kahan and Lithgow. When the character based on him, Sam Epstein, showed up onscreen, played by the English actor Dimitri Leonidas, Lithgow jabbed him in the ribs.

“That’s you!” she said. “I bet you were better looking.”

“I was,” he said.

silly girl
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Post by party animal - not! Sat 22 Feb 2014, 17:46

Robert Edsel mentioned on C-DAN that there were tours being organised by the Monuments Men foundation of the routes they all took around Europe and that Harry was on the trip last year!

Stamina doesn't seem to be a problem!!

party animal - not!
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Post by Mazy Sun 23 Feb 2014, 00:02


It is so wonderful that because of George's movie Harry E and his group are finally recognize for their heroism. So much good has come from this movie. The book being great only gets around so much. George & Co. gave this world-wide exposure. Maybe it might get into the school books at last. Not enough is taught about respecting all the cultures of the world. The differences are many but yet they are the same in many ways. What happens in one place affects the rest of the world in some way or another. George has such a respect for that. xxx
Mazy
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Post by it's me Sun 23 Feb 2014, 00:12

the echoes is just started

of that we are all aware
it's me
it's me
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Post by Nicky80 Sun 23 Feb 2014, 11:48

Mazy wrote:
It is so wonderful that because of George's movie Harry E and his group are finally recognize for their heroism. So much good has come from this movie. The book being great only gets around so much. George & Co. gave this world-wide exposure. Maybe it might get into the school books at last. Not enough is taught about respecting all the cultures of the world. The differences are many but yet they are the same in many ways. What happens in one place affects the rest of the world in some way or another. George has such a respect for that. xxx


Would be a good Idea. In Germany you have a lot of books and movies which belong to the school program. Books/movies about the Nazi time, propaganda and about incitement of the people. Also it belongs to the school program to visit a concentration camp ( some of them still exist to visit) and a synagogue. It is always important to understand the history in order not to happen again.
Nicky80
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