On July 14, 2023, Richard Barancik, the last surviving member of the Monuments Men and Women, died at the age of 98.

In 1945, Mr. Barancik, a lover of art with some basic engineering training, volunteered for the Monuments, Fine Arts and Archives (MFAA) Section and was dispatched to Salzburg, Austria. There he assisted in moving recovered artworks to the central repository of the US Property Control Branch and serving as a guard, protecting and preserving thousands of cultural treasures.

Following the war, Mr. Barancik trained as an architect and had a very successful career in Chicago. In 2015, he was one of four MFAA members who received the Congressional Gold Medal in Washington in recognition of their service.

News of Mr. Barancik’s death and the important impacts he made during his life have recently been covered in numerous news outlets, including The New York Times, The Washinton Post, and The Chicago Tribune.

The USCBS salutes the life and work of Richard Barancik and his fellow MFAA members whose legacies continue to inspire our work in the present.

Photograph courtesy of the United States House of Representatives.

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