Author, PRICELESS: How I Went Undercover to Rescue the World’s Stolen Treasures and THE DEVIL’S DIARY: Alfred Rosenberg and the Stolen Secrets of the Third Reich
This week, Ira spoke with Robert Wittman, author of author of Priceless: How I Went Undercover to Rescue the World’s Stolen Treasures and The Devil’s Diary: Alfred Rosenberg and the Stolen Secrets of the Third Reich. He also finds time to be a keynote speaker at meetings and conventions across the country, as well as a zoom lecture series he is doing on Thursdays, September 8-29 for the University of Pennsylvania museum. In this eclectic episode of Ira’s Everything Bagel, Robert talks about why he decided to join the FBI and how he was assigned to specialized training in cultural property crime; why it’s a a $6 billion industry every year; the two most valuable pieces recovered; why, after leaving the agency, he decided to write PRICELESS; his success in finding top Nazi Alfred Rosenberg’s diary, which went missing after the Nuremberg trials; and why he wrote the story of the search and included the translation of it in THE DEVIL’S DIARY.
Robert K. Wittman joined the FBI as a Special Agent in 1988. As a result of specialized training in art, antiques, jewelry and gem identification, he served as the FBI’s investigative expert involving cultural property crime. During his 20 year FBI career he recovered more than $300 million worth of stolen art and cultural property which resulted in numerous prosecutions and convictions.
As a result of his unique experience, Robert coauthored the FBI Cultural Property Investigative Manual in 2001. In 2005, he created the FBI’s rapid deployment national Art Crime Team (ACT). Robert has represented the United States throughout the world conducting investigations and instructing international police and museums in recovery and use of high value asset security techniques in more than 20 countries. He recently concluded a series of regional security and protection of cultural heritage training lectures to government agencies representing countries in Asia, Central Asia and Serbia sponsored by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).
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