Hitler memorabilia auction rakes in thousands

Auction of Nazi memorabilia brings in hundreds of thousands of euros amid German and international protest.

Ben Ariel,

Hitler's cylinder hat being auctioned off
Hitler's cylinder hat being auctioned off
Reuters

An auction of Nazi memorabilia, including Adolf Hitler's top hat, raked in hundreds of thousands of euros in Munich on Wednesday amid German and international protest, AFP reports.

The hammer fell on the Nazi leader's top hat at 50,000 euros ($55,310), according to the Hermann Historica auction house website, while items of clothing belonging to his partner Eva Braun each sold for thousands.

One buyer paid 130,000 euros for a silver-plated copy of Hitler's anti-Semitic political manifesto Mein Kampf that once belonged to senior Nazi Hermann Goering, emblazoned with an eagle and the party's swastika emblem.

Other lots of clothing and personal belongings from notorious World War II Nazi leaders like Heinrich Himmler and Rudolf Hess also packed the catalogue pages.

"The Nazis' crimes are being trivialized here," the German government's antisemitism commissioner Felix Klein told the Funke newspaper group.

"They're acting as if they're trading in perfectly normal historical art objects," but "there is a danger that Nazi relics become cult objects" for the extreme right, he added.

Before the auction, the chairman of the European Jewish Association, Rabbi Menachem Margolin, wrote to the auction house asking them to cancel the sale.

“What you are doing is not illegal, but it is wrong. I need not remind you of the many millions of lives lost as a result of national socialism, nor of the approximately six million Jewish lives that were lost due to mindless anti-Semitic hatred. This is history,” Rabbi Margolin wrote.

“Yet today, across Europe and including Germany (which now has the highest recorded cases in Europe), anti-Semitism in on the rise, and we believe the sale of such memorabilia has little intrinsic historical value but instead will be bought by those who glorify and seek to justify the actions of the greatest evil to affect Europe. The trade therefore in such items should simply not take place,” he added.

Earlier this year, a letter written by Hitler just days before he committed suicide in a Berlin bunker was auctioned off by the Maryland-based Alexander Historical Auctions house.

In 2015, 14 original works of art by Hitler went up for auction in southern Germany.

Several of Hitler's works have previously been put up for auction in Germany, with a 1914 watercolor selling for $161,000 in November 2014.

Many of the items belonging to top Nazi leaders were seized by US soldiers in the final days of World War II.




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