Cultural Heritage during World War 2: The Amber Room and the Monuments Men

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In Salt to the Sea, many people are trying to evacuate and get transported out of Germany and into safety. The story tells of a group of these people and their experience in trying to clear out of Germany.


The Enigmatic Amber Room

In the story, one of the main characters, Florian, is a former art restorer. Because of this, he had a greater understanding of the art during this time and even had connections to the Amber Room. Florian had an amber swim, which was stolen from the Amber Room. The Amber Room is a mystery that remains unsolved. For many years, people have tried to find the Amber Room, which is made completely out of amber (Lemmon DB). The Amber Room was originally located in the Catherine Palace until the Nazis raided the palace and abducted the Amber Room during World War II (Andrews W). At that time, amber was twelve times more valuable than gold, making it very rare and desirable to the Nazis (Scott-Clark and Levi 4). The Amber Room was even considered the eighth wonder of the world (Lusted DB).

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The Monuments Men’s Quest

To this day, the location of the original Amber Room remains unknown (Lemmon DB). Although many have looked for it, there seems to be no information about where it could be located now (Scott-Clark and Levy 7). Almost every official that had ties to the Amber Room is either dead or missing, leaving us with very little information as to where it could be today (Scott-Clark and Levy 7). There are multiple theories about where the Amber Room is now (Andrews W). Some believe it is still here and secluded in a vault, while others believe it is somewhere at the bottom of the Baltic Sea and gone forever (Andrews W). Others think that the Amber Room is hidden in an old silver mine (Lemmon DB).

Although there is a replica of the Amber Room, many still desire to find the original (Andrews W). This new Amber Room is located in the Catherine Palace and was unveiled on May 31, 2003 (Lemmon DB). The Monuments Men was a group of volunteers that was committed to saving artwork stolen by the Nazis (Edsel and Witter 2). During World War II, the Nazis stole many famous artworks and sculptures (Edsel and Witter 3). The Monuments Men felt it was their duty to save these valuable artworks and documents (Leeper DB). They dedicated their lives to saving and restoring these works of art looted by the Nazis (Santoro DB). Works of art by Leonardo DaVinci, Michelangelo, and more were saved and restored by the Monuments Men (Edsel and Witter 3). These Monuments Men were made up of volunteers (Edsel and Witter 5). They were all ordinary people, usually in their forties (Edsel and Witter 3).


Most of them came from the pasts of artists or museum workers, leading them to have a greater understanding of the artwork stolen by the Nazis. (Santoro DB). These men and women made the courageous decision to leave their families to help restore Europe’s culture (Santoro DB). Around 350 people total served as Monuments Men during this time (Edsel and Witter 3). Although their group was made up of ordinary, everyday people, they made a big impact (Edsel and Witter 2). Some even call the Monuments Men’s work the greatest treasure hunt in history (Edsel and Witter 2). World War II was a significant time for art.


  1. Lemmon, C. (DB). The Amber Room
  2. Andrews, W. (W). The Mystery of the Amber Room
  3. Edsel, R. M., & Witter, B. (2, 3, 5). The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History
  4. Leeper, J. (DB). The Monuments Men: Rescuing Europe’s Treasures

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Cultural Heritage during World War 2: The Amber Room and the Monuments Men. (2023, Aug 14). Retrieved from

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