WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK) today praised the passage by Unanimous Consent of his resolution (S.Res.223) honoring the efforts and contributions of the Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives Program under the Civil Affairs and Military Government Sections of the United States Armed Forces. This group, known as the ‘Monuments Men,’ was responsible for the preservation, protection, and restitution of priceless artistic and cultural treasures in countries liberated by the Allied armies during and following World War II.
“It is in large part due to the tireless efforts of the brave American men and women who served as Monuments Men that over 5 million works of art and other cultural treasures were protected and preserved following the collapse of the Nazi regime,” Sen. Inhofe said. “I am proud that the Monuments Men have finally been recognized for their invaluable service.”
Sen. Inhofe today met with Horace Apgar of Oklahoma City, one of the last surviving Monuments Men, and presented him with a signed copy of the resolution. Mr. Apgar was assigned to the Monuments Men program in Frankfurt, Germany, after serving during the war as a general infantry soldier. He returned to Oklahoma after the war, where he commenced a 56-year career with the Oklahoma City Philharmonic. Sen. Inhofe also recognized the sacrifice of Walter J. Huchthausen, a member of the Monuments Men from Perry, Oklahoma. Mr. Huchthausen was tragically killed by enemy gunfire in April of 1945 while working to salvage an altarpiece near the Western Front.
During WWII, the Nazi party in Germany conducted a wide-scale confiscation of millions of pieces of artwork and other cultural artifacts throughout continental Europe. The Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives program (‘Monuments Men’) under the Civil Affairs and Military Government Sections of the United States Armed Forces was tasked with the responsibility of recovering and protecting these cultural treasures of Europe, including masterpieces by Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Rembrandt.
Sens. Kennedy (D-MA), Boxer (D-CA), Hutchison (R-TX), Lautenberg (D-NJ), Snowe (R-ME), Menendez (D-NJ), Lieberman (I-CT), Akaka (D-HI) and Wyden (D-OR) are co-sponsors of Sen. Inhofe’s resolution. Rep. Kay Granger (R-TX) sponsored the House version of the legislation.