Much is being made these days of the personal stories of the soldiers from whom George Clooney drew inspiration for the characters in his movie “Monument’s Men,” adapted from the book of the same name. In the Saturday February 8th edition of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the story of Walter Huchthausen, a graduate of the University of Minnesota and an assistant professor there beginning in 1940, was told.
He was one of two members of the Monument’s Men team killed during the war. He was shot while driving a jeep on the way to save a statue. Hit by bullets and killed instantly, his body was thrown across the jeep knocking his fellow soldier to the floor, saving his life. Huchthausen had dreams of building big buildings and, ironically, the newspaper article shows a drawing of his depicting a large monument he drew as part of a competition. He was awarded the Bronze Star.
I never tire of discovering the small individual stories, the individual acts, that make up the big picture of the war.
On one of the networks this past week, they were interviewing an 88 year old gentleman who was part of the art recovery effort. He was asked what he was proud of with his service. Paraphrasing, he was proud that where others were intent on destroying, they were intent on saving. Some of the artwork he saved were pictures drawn by his grandfather.