400-year-old law books headed back to Germany

Discussion in 'WWII Books' started by DerAdlerIstGelandet, Oct 6, 2009.

  1. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    Kind of thought this was interesting...

    400-year-old law books headed back to Germany

    By WILLIAM C. MANN, Associated Press Writer William C. Mann, Associated Press Writer – 2 hrs 56 mins ago

    WASHINGTON – Germany got back two 400-year-old law books Tuesday from a former American soldier who took them as souvenirs from a salt mine storage vault in the closing months of World War II.

    Robert Thomas was an 18-year-old member of George Patton's Third Army, 90th Division, when he took the books — one in Latin, the other in German. He returned them to German Ambassador Klaus Scharioth in a ceremony Tuesday at the National Archives building.

    "The books will go home because it's the right thing to do," said Thomas, of Chula Vista, Calif., at the ceremony.

    Thomas was recuperating from wounds caused by "Screaming Mimis," the German Nebelwerfer artillery rocket, sustained as he and other soldiers fought to break the Siegfried line, invade Germany and end the war in Europe. Thomas said a young lieutenant pulled him out of his recuperation center, and they rode a motorcycle into Ransbach, where people were hanging out white flags.

    There they found a mine, 2,500 feet below the surface, that contained some 2 million books.

    At least 15 million books were lost to U.S. and British bombers as they pounded the German heartland ahead of the eventual invasion, according to U.S. archivist Greg Bradsher.

    The Germans stored valuables in monasteries, castles and other redoubts until after the Allied invasion of Normandy in June 1944. Salt mines were chosen as well for their ability to protection the artifacts by absorbing moisture.


    400-year-old law books headed back to Germany - Yahoo! News
     
  2. Aaron Brooks Wolters

    Aaron Brooks Wolters Well-Known Member

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    Cool and very noble to.:salute:
     
  3. RabidAlien

    RabidAlien Active Member

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    :salute: Wonder how many other lost treasures/artifacts such as this are simply laying in someone's attic or basement right now?
     
  4. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    The claims and counter claims concerning the return of historical artifacts, following wwII is staggering. Germany took a lot from allover Europe whilst she was winning, and then as the the allies advanced, the reverse happened. The russians in particular are gbuilty of appropriating works from allover europe in this way. The allies tended to make off with stuff by individuals rather than state sponsored theft.

    I really dont know what to think on this issue. Who owns the artifact after so long????? open question really
     
  5. proton45

    proton45 Member

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    The guy is obviously "making piece" with himself...his actions display an uncommon sense of morality.

    It will be interesting to see if any other veterans follow suit...
     
  6. wheelsup_cavu

    wheelsup_cavu Well-Known Member

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    I thought the same thing when I read the article.


    Wheels
     
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