WW2 soldier returns stolen 'Hitler art' to Germany

In 1945, a World War Two drew to a close, a group of US soldiers entered Adolf Hitler's Berchtesgaden home complex, located in the Bavarian Alps.

Among them was a young soldier named John Pistone, who took an album filled with paintings and photographs as a souvenir.

Only after 64 years has Pistone - now aged 87 - realised the significance of his find.

It transpires that the album was one of many compiled for Hitler containing art that he wanted for his Fuhrermuseum, a planned art complex to be established in his hometown of Linz, Austria.

The unrealised Fuhrermuseum, it was intended, would display a collection of art plundered or purchased by the Nazis throughout Europe during WW2.

"Gemaldegalerie Linz" - which translates to 'gallery for paintings, Linz' - is reportedly stamped on the book's spine along with the number 13, according to Military Vehicles Trader magazine.

In January, Pistone's album will be formally returned to Germany in a ceremony at the US State Department.

His find will join 31 other art albums in Germany's possession - 19 of which were found at Berchtesgaden - each being considered for exhibition at the Linz museum.

Souvenir hunting by soldiers was common in WW2, and can sometimes lead to problems when people attempt to sell the items rather than, like Pistone, returning them.

 

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