Way Back When … 1942: Leonard Everett Fisher and World War ll
Published 10:30 am, Friday, March 17, 2017
Much has been written about Westport artist, illustrator and former Yale dean of art Leonard Everett Fisher. As an active 90-year-old, Fisher is the only man living today who helped save Europe’s masterpieces that were hidden by the Nazis during World War ll.
Fisher enlisted in 1942 at 18 after the Secret Service vetted him. His highly skilled secret unit was responsible for mapping all U.S. invasions.
Fisher was a sargeant in the 30th Topographic Engineers.
It was a singular outfit based high in the Atlas Mountains in Algeria, which was French controlled. The mapping unit consisted of 25 guys and they used an Art Deco theater as their base. They knew when, where, and what time the next assault would take place, and who was going in. All this was highly secretive. They made all their topographical maps by hand from aerial photographs. Fisher had excelled in math and geology as a young student and had excellent drafting skills. They made maps for the invasions of Normandy, Cherbourg, Pisa, and for the Third Army for George Patton.
The Monument Men were Americans dedicated to finding the hidden masterpieces looted by Nazis. Fisher’s unit supplied the maps they needed to locate the art. Robert Edsel, who founded the Monument Men Foundation and wrote two books on the subject, mentions Fisher and awarded him a Medal of Honor for his dedicated service during the war. In 2013 Fisher Fisher was the grand marshall of the Memorial Day Parade.