Adolf Hitler's photo albums of works of art, which were stolen in the 1940s, have been discovered and donated to the US national archives.
The two leather-bound photograph albums were found by Dallas-based Monuments Men Foundation for the Preservation of Art. One album is filled with photographs of works of art and the other contains snapshots of furniture.
"Album 7" contains photographs of 69 paintings that were taken as early as 1940. The other newly discovered album, "Album 15" features photographs of 41 pieces of furniture, mainly owned by the Rothschild family
Robert Edsel, founder and president of the Monuments Men Foundation, said the albums were key pieces of evidence taken from a crime scene, reported the Associated Press. They were among Hitler's msot prized possessions.
Edsel noted that Hitler used the albums as shopping catalogues to select works of art for various museums.
The albums were taken from Hitler's home, Berghof, in the Bavarian Alps by Cpl Albert Lorenzetti and Pte Yerke Zane Larson as souvenirs during the final days of World War II. Both the men are now dead.
The albums stayed in their families as heirlooms until families decided to hand them over to the Monuments Men Foundation. It was then that curators realised that the albums had belonged to Hitler.
Larson's daughter, Sandra Runde of Rapid City, South Dakota, said she could remember her father taking the album out once or twice when she was growing up. Runde said her father did not talk about the war and did not elaborate on the album beyond saying that it was from Hitler's home, according to AP.
The US national archives has 43 photograph albums, of which 39 were discovered in 1945 May at Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany, which were later used as evidence at the Nuremberg trials to document the massive Nazi art looting operations.