A watch believed to have belonged to Nazi leader Adolf Hitler has sold for $1.1 million (one million euros) at an auction in the United States.
Adolf Hitler led Nazi Germany between 1933 and 1945, orchestrating the systematic killing of up to 11 million people—six million of whom were killed because they were Jews. The Huber watch, which was sold to an anonymous bidder, has a swastika and the initials “AH” engraved on it. According to the auction catalog, the watch was presented to the Nazi leader as a birthday gift in 1933, the year he became chancellor of Germany.
The watch was taken as a souvenir when about 30 French soldiers raided the Berghof, a former refuge of Adolf Hitler in Obersalzberg in the Bavarian Alps, in May 1945. Since then, the watch is believed to have been resold and inherited. over several generations.
Other items up for auction included a dress belonging to Hitler’s wife Eva Braun, signed portraits of Nazi officials and a yellow cloth printed with the Star of David with the word Jude, which means “Jew”.
Although the watch sold for €1 million, it fell short of the auction house’s estimate of €1.9 million to €3.9 million.
Auction criticized by Jewish leaders
An open letter signed by 34 Jewish leaders called the deal “abhorrent” and called for Nazi lots to be removed from the auction. “While it is clear that the lessons of history must be learned and that legitimate Nazi artifacts belong in museums or places of higher education, it is clear that these things they are selling are not [pertencem]Rabbi Menachem Margolin, President of the European Jewish Association, wrote.
Speaking to German media, Alexander Historical Auctions said the goal is to preserve history and that the best-selling pieces are kept in private collections or donated to Holocaust museums. “Whether the story is good or bad, it must be preserved,” Vice President Mindy Greenstein told Deutsche Welle. “If you ruin history, there is no evidence that it happened.”
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