A photograph of Adolf Hitler hugging a child with Jewish roots and a letter by Albert Einstein predicting the rise of Nazi anti-Semitism each fetched five-figure sums at separate auctions.
The picture, dated 1933, was sold earlier this week for $11,520 at the Alexander Historical Auctions in Chesapeake City, Maryland, CNN reported.
It shows Rosa Bernile Nienau, whose grandmother was Jewish, being hugged by the Nazi leader outside his home in Bavaria, the sellers said. Hitler signed the photo with an inscription to Nienau. He had met the girl when she was about 6 years old at his birthday party in Bavaria that year. They were both born on April 20.
Hitler and Nienau exchanged several letters. Nienau’s mother, Karoline, was a nurse and an acquaintance of Hitler, and had brought her daughter to his birthday party, where they bonded, the auction house said, based on research.
“The dear and (considerate?) Rosa Nienau Adolf Hitler Munich, the 16th June 1933,” the picture sold read. It was delivered to Nienau’s mother in Munich.
“Research shows that even early on, Hitler became aware of the girl’s Jewish heritage but chose to ignore it, either for personal or propaganda reasons,” the auction house said in the description of the item.
When Martin Bormann, a high-ranking Nazi Cabinet minister, discovered her non-Aryan origins, “he forbade mother and daughter access” to Hitler’s residence, the auction house also said. Nienau died in the 1940s at a hospital from a spinal infection.
Separately, a handwritten letter by Einstein, the Jewish inventor of the theory of relativity, was sold Tuesday for nearly $40,000 in Jerusalem, The New York Times reported. The Kedem Auction House said the previously unknown letter, brought forward by an anonymous collector, fetched $39,360.
Einstein wrote the letter to his sister after going into hiding in 1922 following the assassination of Germany’s Jewish foreign minister, Walther Rathenau, by right-wing extremists. Police had warned the Jewish scientist that his life could be in danger, too, according to The Times article.
“Here are brewing economically and politically dark times, so I’m happy to be able to get away from everything,” he wrote in the letter.