Kay Granger

'Monuments Men' are honored with Congressional Gold Medal

'Monuments Men' are honored with Congressional Gold Medal

Before Richard Barancik was a successful Chicago architect, he helped safeguard some of Europe's most valuable pieces of Western culture plundered by the Nazis.

Seventy years later, it remains difficult for him to fathom the theft of millions of paintings, sculptures, drawings, pieces of furniture and other objects at the close of World War II, detailed by Robert Edsel in his 2009 book, “The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves, and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History.” The book was made into a film by George Clooney.

“All for their own selfish pursuit,” Barancik said on Thursday, before he and three of the surviving “Monuments...