UNDATED (CNN) - The recovery of thousands of priceless works of art, ones looted by the Nazis during the second World War, is the subject of a new movie. The Monuments Men was inspired by the art historians and curators who set out to find the hidden treasures and return them to their rightful owners.
The Monuments Men is an action packed movie based on a true story. But what was the work of the real Monuments Men like? CNN went to their former headquarters in Munich, Germany.
Today, the building is an institute for art history, and Iris Lauterbach is one of those in charge. Te recovered art was first brought into the atrium where it was catalogued and photographed.
Lauterbach says more than battlefield adventures, documentation work was the Monuments Men's daily routine and their greatest achievement. Especially, with all the shortages in post World War II Germany. Lauterbach said, "They complained about not getting bicycles, not having typewriters, not having paper and these normal things. Not getting gas for a Jeep to go somewhere."
The Monuments Men managed to get tens of thousands of pieces back to their rightful owners. But even today not all of them have been returned.
Last year more than 1400 missing paintings were spectacularly discovered with a German collector named Cornelius Gurlitt. And just recently, 60 additional masterpieces surfaced in an apartment in Austria.
Lawyers are now trying to determine if any of them might be art looted by the Nazis. One of the places the Germans stashed a lot of looted works was the stunning Neuschwanstein in the Bavarian Alps. Part of The Monuments Men movie was also set there.
The inside is absolutely massive, but it didn't take the Monuments Men long to find the art works that were stashed and to bring them to Munich because the masterpieces were hidden in plain sight.
Hans Schneidberger worked in the castle as a young carpenter when the Germans brought the art there in late 1943. "It was all on the second floor and in the kitchen," he says, "There was nothing in the floors above. Anyone who says the whole building was full of art. That is not true."
But then again, George Clooney admitted that the movie is only loosely based on the real Monuments Men.
They were heroes whose greatest feat was saving much of the cultural heritage of Europe.