Paintings from East Germany
In the Summer of 2014 the Foundation received a call from James Hetherington who stated that he had several paintings that had been in Europe during the war. Mr. Hetherington had recently learned of the Monuments Men Foundation after seeing information provided at the end of The Monuments Men film. Hetherington's step-father, Major William Oftebro, a World War II officer who died many years ago, mailed the paintings home to his wife, James' mother, after the war. Major Oftebro served in the 750th Tank Battalion and received the Bronze Star on April 28, 1945. He informed his family that he had won the paintings in a poker game.
Determining the rightful owner proved straightforward: all three paintings preserved museum labels and identifying marks of the Joachim-Ernst-Stiftung, a German Foundation whose art collections had been placed on loan to museums and historic houses in and around the city of Dessau. That collection is now part of the Anhaltische Gemäldegalerie Dessau collection.
The paintings were handed over to the German Embassy in May 2015 during a ceremony at the U.S. State Department and returned to the Schlosshotel Kronberg a few weeks later. They are the only three paintings of the many missing since the end of WWII to have made their return to the city of Dessau.