The Real Story Behind 'The Monuments Men' Movie

Rep. Kay Granger and Robert Edsel on how WWII group rescued 5 million works of stolen art from Nazis.
3:00 | 02/07/14

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Transcript for The Real Story Behind 'The Monuments Men' Movie
Hello welcome to top line number climbed to BBC news -- loading docks Yahoo! News and we're joined here in new in the United States -- right across the street -- congresswoman Kay Granger Republican of Texas and Robert Edsel is the author of the book monuments -- now -- major motion picture with George Clooney Matt Damon in just about everyone else you've heard of in Hollywood. Time to put -- team together and do our best to protect buildings bridges and hard before the Nazis destroyed -- amendment -- cheese. That's much better weapons -- war Sargent. -- -- You've seen this story -- that you helped bring to light through the book now getting a lot more attention this story of the the man who. Protected European art from the Nazis -- national treasures wise and resonating with you. Because I think people don't know about -- I mean we we've grown up on the war two story -- some particular. And yet here's an epic part of -- We don't know about it period when all the museums in Europe closed five or six years millions of works of -- -- moved around over bomb cratered roads. Millions of works of art and cultural treasures stolen by the Nazis and we have this group of men and women. Who risked their lives two of whom -- killed during combat to go and saved. The great cultural -- you're a new kind of soldier when charged with saving rather than -- and it's an uplifting story we don't know about and I think it's that. Surprise that people don't know about it you can see how big it is -- captured everybody's imagination. I believed to veterans who participated in these daring missions are certainly worthy and deserving of that recommendation of congress' highest expression. Of appreciation. Congresswoman you've taken the lead in congress have been trying to honor this group of men and women. How do you go about telling her colleagues historian and what's the response -- I didn't know -- thing about it until I heard a conversation over eavesdropping. And heard about it. World War II its influence how many of us and we just honored -- American code talkers. Do conclusion that without good. -- -- Here's another story. That we never honored don't know about and -- -- -- -- -- around this because with only five of these of these men are still alive -- that -- -- there's a congressional resolution. And I got passed in 2006. And thirteen were living. In the end today it's only so -- -- an urgency about. Other any other times and -- -- seen this happen or was this unique have -- been other times we've seen. As you see a different kind of force there to protect -- and to save things rather than destroy things and I -- And in my opinion and I don't say this and I say this on both sides of the aisle. Our country paid a horrible price in the court of public opinion in the aftermath of the -- tensions in Iraq Baghdad in the other cultural treasures there because. While we had people. In service that -- focused on this and there was discussion about it at state and defense it wasn't cleared from the top there wasn't a priority the president Roosevelt in general Eisenhower. Really change the face of war by trying to fight a war mitigate -- -- to cultural treasures and I think the key point is they understood if you're really gonna win hearts and minds of people. You have to show respect for their cultural treasures you don't necessarily have to understand and you don't even have to like them but you gotta show respect. -- -- -- -- -- warning -- to monuments that are we doing a good job of honoring the people were becoming veterans now are we going to be in position in. 5060 years to tell their stories adequately -- need to do more. We always thing to do more because they did that given their lives aliens. Their future in many cases in this case it was than usual situation what they do you know it was to the Victor go the spoils. Until this happened. And it went on -- five million articles were -- Many times news to took years. And then to get them not exciting but back to the original owners and. And finally what what -- that the men and women in that that were involved in this and their families was their reaction to being now that. Portrait by the likes of George Clooney and that they thought Scott -- seem to have stepped on a slim. He's someone that you traditions have found themselves on an unexploded mine are what you -- you spending too much time here. One of the monuments men did congresswoman Granger. Spoke eloquently about when we had our congressional resolution was -- -- -- with -- -- now ill with alzheimer's but. I remember after our ceremony someone -- inside and said. You know doesn't bother you that it's been some 65 years no one's ever recognized -- and he just smiled -- war -- -- students that hey I'm just grateful someone is doing it now. So yeah there's surreal aspect with George Clooney in these other actors but I can tell you could spend a lot of time with them. To the person they didn't know the story either. And they were deeply touched to be artists themselves putting on the uniform in a form of -- film. To help save art and culture and I think that was something -- -- very proud of so it's a two way street. Robert Edsel and and congresswoman Kay Granger thanks so much the -- film based on the book of course monuments men. Congratulations and good -- Thank you very much that -- for this edition of top line you can watch us all week -- -- And -- Yahoo! News you can follow me on Twitter at Rick Klein follow me act of Knox and of course. -- on -- next time.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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