Presented By Rathkamp Financial Services
The father of former Chillicothe Mayor Margaret Planton is the theme of a Cincinnati Art Museum exhibit that details the work of Captain Walter Farmer’s role at the end of World War II, as he helped retrieve valuable German art works that had been confiscated by the Nazis.
Captain Farmer was attached to the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, when in June of 1945 he saw the stories about art work discovered in salt mines, where the Nazis hid them after taking them from the Berlin Art Museum.
He transferred to the “Monuments Men”, which Wiesbaden Collecting Point, which is where the art was being received out of the salt mines.
He needed someone who spoke German, French and Dutch, and hired a German woman, who would later become Mrs. Walter Farmer and years later, gave birth to Margaret.
In November, 1945, the group received a telegram stating that they were ordered to send 202 pieces of the art to the United States for keeping. Captain Farmer refused, and got 32 other Monuments Men to sign the Wiesbaden Manifesto, which protested the transfer of this art to America.
Germany recognized the Manifesto in 1996, which led to Walter Farmer receiving the German Cross for his action.
The paintings sat in the National Gallery in Washington D.C. for many years and were also shown around the U.S. in the late 1940’s.
Due to Walter Farmer and many other people’s efforts, all of the art eventually made it back to the Berlin Art Gallery.
This story is currently being told with an exhibit at the Cincinnati Art Museum, due to Walter Farmer’s being a native Cincinnati native.
The show will be up now through October 3rd. Margaret Planton was actively involved in the archival work for this exhibit, including the display of his medals, which Margaret had in her possession. At least four of the paintings retrieved after the war and eventually sent back to Germany, and on loan for this Cincinnati exhibit from the Berlin Art Gallery.