Beyond the “Monument Men”: New Article by OHIO Graduate Student Examines World War II Looting


The new movie Monuments Men tells the story of the men and women of the Monuments, Fine Arts and Archives program who worked to preserve monuments and other works of art during and after World War II. 

The movie has drawn attention to the work of Ohio University PhD student Seth Givens (and former Archives student employee), who conducted research using the Libraries’ Cornelius Ryan Collection of World War II Papers. Givens’s new article, “Liberating the Germans: The US Army and Looting in Germany During the Second World War” recently appeared in War in HistoryOnline magazine Slate pointed to Givens’s research and the contrast it shows with the celebration of the Monuments Men. The article also merited a mention in the BBC’s History Magazine. Some soldiers engaged in looting of their own and brought home Nazi souvenirs. Givens explored the motivations for the looting in the new article and in his 2009 Master’s thesis.

The Ryan Collection consists of the extensive research files of journalist and author Cornelius J. Ryan. Ryan authored several books on World War II, including The Longest Day, A Bridge Too Far, and The Last Battle. The collection is part of the Mahn Center for Archives and Special Collections

War in History cover image by SAGE publications. 

Featured image photo of Ryan Collection materials by Shari DiBarri/Ohio University Libraries.