A watch believed to have belonged to Adolf Hitler sold for $1.1 million at a US auction last week, which also included other items believed to have belonged to the Nazi dictator and his wife Eva Braun.
A Huber watch decorated with a swastika, a German imperial eagle and the initials AH was sold to an undisclosed buyer by Alexander Auction House in Chesapeake City, Maryland, in a July 28-29 sale.
The auction house claims the watch was given to Hitler on his 44th birthday in 1933 and then returned as spoils of war by a French soldier in 1945 during the Nazi leader’s retreat to Berchtesgaden, in the Bavarian Alps.
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Also hotly contested at auction were Hitler’s candy cup, which sold for $2,750, a collar for Eva Brown’s Scottish terrier, which sold for $4,500, a Hitler beer tray, which sold for $750, and his personal stationery, which sold for $650 , his champagne glass sold for $900. , as well as several other items that he and his wife used.
The European Jewish Association, a pressure group based in Brussels, openly condemned the sale principle in a letter. The items appeal to “those who romanticize what the Nazi Party may have represented,” offering “buyers the chance to wow a guest or loved one with an item that once belonged to a genocidal killer or his loved ones,” the group’s president wrote. Rabbi Menachem Margolin.
“The sale of these properties is appalling and most of the lots on display are devoid of any historical interest,” Margolin wrote to the auction house in a letter signed by 34 members and leaders of European Jewish communities.
Bill Panagopoulos, president of Alexander Historical Auctions, which has faced similar criticism at past auctions, including the diaries of notorious Nazi war criminal Josef Mengele, dismissed the criticism as “absurd and sensational” in an email to JTA.
“What we sell is criminal evidence, no matter how mundane it is. This is tangible and very real proof that Hitler and the Nazis lived, persecuted and killed tens of millions of people. The destruction or even any interference with the display or protection of this material is a crime against history,” Panagopoulos writes. The buyers, he added, “are NOT neo-Nazis who are too poor and ignorant to appreciate such a historical artifact.”
The European Jewish Association does not know whether the items being sold are genuine, a spokesperson for the organization told JTA.
A Walther PP pistol allegedly owned by Auschwitz commander Rudolf Hess has sold at auction for $22,500, along with an “original watercolor” of Hitler.