RUMSON – Congregation B’nai Israel (CBI) will host at 11:30 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 23, Harry Ettlinger, one of the last surviving members of the World War II unit that rescued cultural treasures and artwork from destruction by Hitler and the German military.
Ettlinger, a Morris County resident, will speak about his life and his role in this special unit which was recently featured in the 2014 film “The Monuments Men,” directed by and starring George Clooney.
Now age 89, Ettlinger was born to a German Jewish family that traced its roots in Germany to the 15th century. On Sept. 25, 1938, the day after Ettlinger’s bar mitzvah, he and his family fled Germany for a new start in the United States. Six years later, Ettlinger was drafted into the U.S. Army. Fluent in German, he was recruited to translate German documents for the Allied Forces Monuments, Fine Arts and Archives Program, whose 345 members from 13 nations were called, for short, “Monuments Men.”
The sole remaining “Monument Man” who is still well enough to appear in public, Ettlinger, describes the work of this group as “something every American should be proud of – instead of taking things, we gave them back.”
Ettlinger’s unit returned to its original owners and institutions 900 stolen works of art including works by Rembrandt, da Vinci, Michelangelo, Vermeer and Monet. For his bravery, Ettlinger was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal.
All are welcome to attend the lecture and meet Ettlinger. Bagels and coffee will be served.
For members of CBI and the Red Bank Chapter of Hadassah, there is a charge of $5. For all others, the cost is $10.
Those who want to attend must register by November 19 at www.cbirumson.org.
Additional information about the lecture by Ettlinger is available by calling CBI Director Emilie Kovit-Meyer at 732-842-1800, ext. 203, or emailing to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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