ABILENE, Kan. – Robert M. Edsel, Founder and Chairman of the Monuments Men Foundation for the Preservation of Art, will be the keynote speaker at the Victory in Europe (VE-Day) 70th Anniversary Commemoration marking the end of World War II in Europe. The program is set for May 8, 7 p.m. at the Eisenhower Presidential Library Visitors Center Auditorium.
“We are pleased to have Robert Edsel as the keynote speaker at our VE-Day 70th Anniversary commemoration,” states Karl Weissenbach, Director. “The message he brings regarding the preservation of cultural treasures throughout the world is as relevant today as it was during World War II.”
Edsel is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of three non-fiction books, Saving Italy: the Race to Rescue a Nation’s Treasures from the Nazis, The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History, and Rescuing Da Vinci. A film based on Edsel’s book, The Monuments Men, directed by and starring Academy Award winner George Clooney, was released in February 2014.
In November 2014, Edsel was presented with the “Records of Achievement Award” from the Foundation for the National Archives. The award recognizes an individual whose work has fostered a broader national awareness of the history and identity of the United States through the use of original records.
Edsel’s remarks will provide perspective on the lessons learned about the preservation of cultural treasures during World War II under the leadership of Supreme Allied Commander Dwight D. Eisenhower. He will also discuss the challenges confronting us today as we bear witness to the destruction of cultural treasures in Syria and Iraq by the Islamic State (ISIS).
In addition, Edsel will unveil a major initiative to engage the public in the hunt for some of the hundreds of thousands of works of art and other cultural treasures still missing since World War II.
Copies of Edsel’s books, Saving Italy and The Monuments Men, as well as the DVD of The Monuments Men film will be available for purchase in the Presidential Gift Shop. Following the program, Edsel will be available to autograph the items.