Painting Stolen By Nazis During World War II Discovered In Central Ohio

10TV 28 September 2015
By Meghan Mathews

A World War II mystery is finally solved right here in central Ohio.

A painting, stolen by the Nazis during the war, is on its way back to Poland.

"That's where it should be. It's been gone since 1939,” John Bobb said.

The marks on the wall are still visible from a nearly three centuries old painting that hung in the home of John and Janis Bobb.

"He was hanging around with us for 25 years and we enjoyed him immensely,” Janis Bobb said.

It will take some getting used to they said, not seeing the portrait among the dozens of collected art works on their walls.

When he bought the painting in 1990, John Bobb said he had no idea the “Portrait of a Young Man” by Krzysztof Lubieniecki had been looted by the Nazis.

That was until he received a call from the FBI.

"I think there's a possibility that you might have in your collection, in your ownership, a painting that might have been looted from Poland during the Second World War,” John said recalling what the FBI told him.

The FBI said a serviceman brought the painting to the U.S. and it was later sold to art collectors in central Ohio. In the hands of the Bobbs, they say they couldn’t believe it.

"We did verify that it was legit and that they were really hunting for the painting that we had,” Janis said.

The couple met with the FBI and the Polish Ministry of Cultural and National Heritage last week to verify the authenticity of the painting.

"They discovered that it was what they were looking for. It was one of the seven or eight they've been looking for in the last few years,” John said.

The Bobbs said though the picture isn’t totally clear how the FBI traced the painting back to them, they willingly handed it over.

"I was almost in tears at the FBI thing to think that it was really happening. That this piece was actually going back to where it should be,” Janis said.

The couple has been invited to Poland for the painting’s presentation and rededication at the National Museum in Warsaw.
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