Simpson, Elizabeth, ed. The spoils of war: World War II and its aftermath: the loss, reappearance, and recovery of cultural property. New York : H.N. Abrams in association with the Bard Graduate Center for Studies in the Decorative Arts, 1997.
Edsel, Robert M. Rescuing da Vinci: Hitler and the Nazis stole Europe’s great art: America and her Allies recovered it. Dallas, TX: Laurel Publishing, LLC, 2006.
Almost every painting by Leonardo da Vinci was in danger during World War II. The Mona Lisa was removed from the Louvre for safekeeping in 1939 and transported to five different Louvre repositories in France for its protection. Lady with an Ermine was stolen by the Nazis from its Polish owners, the Czartoryski family and taken to Berlin. It was returned to Krakow after the war. The Last Supper, located in the refectory of the Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie, Milan, survived aerial bombing only because the wall it was painted on had additional safety and structural support to protect it. The three other walls in the room were destroyed.
The Monuments Men
Edsel, Robert M. and Bret Witter. The monuments men: Allied heroes, Nazi thieves, and the greatest treasure hunt in history. New York : Center Street, 2009.
The upcoming film, "The Monuments Men", is based upon this book. It focuses on a small group of American and British soldiers who were part of the Monuments, Fine Art, and Archives (MFAA) division of the Allied armed forces. The division consisted of around 345 individuals, some of whom are important cultural figures and several of whom have local connections. For example, Gilbert Doane, who served as Director of Libraries at the University of Wisconsin-Madison from 1937 to 1956, in addition to serving as director of the library school from 1938 to 1941 and as University Archivist from 1956 to 1962, served with the MFAA aiding in the restoration and preservation of archival materials. Sir Leonard Woolley, who excavated the royal cemeteries at Ur in Iraq, led the British division. Lincoln Kirstein, the co-founder of the New York City Ballet, helped with the recovery of artwork in the salt mines of Altaussee in Austria and worked at the Munich collection point. James Rorimer, the director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art from 1955 to 1966, was responsible for tracking artwork stolen from French private collections and led the effort to recover Herman Goering's collection. Edsel focuses on the formation of the MFAA via the Roberts Commission to the end of the war. The MFAA continued its work until 1950 when the German collection points were closed.