With the arrival of Hollywood's "Monuments Men" movie we were intrigued about this story and did a little digging. Founded in 1943, the Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives program under the Civil Affairs and Military Government departments of the Allied forces was established to protect cultural property in war zones during and post World War II. Made up of about 350 service members, their mission was to safeguard historic and cultural monuments from war damage, and Allied, Russian, and Nazi looting.
Under Hitler's authority, the Nazis amassed hundreds of thousands of antiquities from the occupied nations and stored them in key locations, like the Musée Jeu de Paume in Paris and the Nazi headquarters in Munich. As the Allied forces advanced on the Axis power, Germany began storing the artworks in salt mines and caves for protection from bombing raids.
Known as the Kunstschutz, was the Nazi force deemed responsible for the majority of art theft from 1933 until the end of World War II. Items stolen include, gold, currency, paintings, ceramics, books, and religious treasures. Many of these items were recovered by the Allies immediately following the war, but many are still missing, such as Raphael's Portrait of a Young Man.