Picture Credit: CEN/ Auktionshaus Andreas Thies
These items looted from Hitler’s home in Munich by an American soldier including a portrait of the Fuhrer’s mum and his army cap are to be sold at auction.
The dictator’s gun and various medals are also set to go under the hammer.
The items were all seized by US Army Lieutenant Benjamin Lieber, late of the 692nd Tank Destroyer Battalion, when he entered Hitler’s apartment on the Prinzregentenplatz together with other soldiers when the city was taken in 1945.
Although the sale of Hitler memorabilia is problematic, with many faked items believed to have entered circulation, the auction house says that the authenticity of the items now up for sale is beyond question.
They say that is why they are asking EUR 450,000 for the cap, which the Fuhrer had reportedly worn up until 1938 before having a new more modern uniform.
Meanwhile, a brown military shirt which comes together with medals that is estimated to fetch around EUR 600,000.
A gun which was not pictured is expected to attract starting bids from EUR 500,000.
The medals include the iron Cross first class that he won from the First World War as well as the special ‘Blutorden’ medal that was given to those that took part in the 1923 beer hall bid to seize power. Hitler and other NSDAP members staged the failed coup in an attempt to gain power in Munich and he was arrested and charged with treason two days later.
It gave him a national profile from which he was later able to finally seize control of the country.
The Andreas Thies auction house in the German state of Baden Württemberg which is handling the sale says the items can clearly be traced back to 1945 and offers a guarantee as to their authenticity amid fears of forgeries.
It is unclear under on what grounds the soldiers had entered the dictator’s apartment, but it is known that they all left with whatever they could carry and this is the basis on which the auction house is guaranteeing the items authenticity.
Hitler himself had ordered all of his personal items to be destroyed including his paperwork but the items at the Munich apartment somehow survived.
Hidden underneath the National Socialist German Workers’ Party NSDAP uniform of Hitler which the American officer grabbed was also a small tin containing the portrait of a woman later identified as being his mother.
The items have a colourful past as in 1968 they were stolen from the soldiers that liberated them from Hitler’s Munich flat, and sold to a US military dealer causing a legal row that was later settled.
Asked if they felt uncomfortable selling the objects, Andreas Thies said: “These objects are outstanding historical testimonies to the time that should be preserved for future generations. In any case we are not specialised in dealing with Third Reich memorabilia, and would be just as likely to auction off property once owned by Communist leaders.”
The auction house is been dealing with military memorabilia for 35 years and expects worldwide interest in the current cell. They believe that despite the estimation, the cap alone could fetch up to EUR 1m.