Wristwatch said to have once belonged to Adolf Hitler sold on Thursday, July 28, at auction at Alexander Historical Auctions in Maryland, USA for over $1.1 million (€1.08 million). The gold case of the product is engraved with an eagle, a swastika and the initials of the leader of the German Nazis. The amount for which the lot went under the hammerturned out to be significantly lower than its starting price: they expected to earn from 2 to 4 million dollars for the accessory.
A number of other Nazi-era artifacts were also sold at the auction. So, according to the site of the auction house Alexander Historical Auctions, $ 200,000 was paid for the imperial eagle, presumably located in the Reich Chancellery in Berlin. The bronze pad on which Hitler is said to have signed the 1938 Munich Agreement to annex the German-populated border areas of Czechoslovakia to Nazi Germany was purchased for $290,000.
According to the auction house, the gold watch that went under the hammer was presented to Hitler in 1933 by members of the NSDAP. They were discovered on May 4, 1945 – four days after the suicide Hitler in Berlin – by a certain French soldier in Hitler’s former Alpine residence in Berchtesgaden. The watch is said to have been in the possession of the soldier’s family for decades.
Sharp criticism from Jewish organizations
Even before the auction auction organizers were sharply criticized. The European Association of Jewish Organizations (EJA) even called for the auction to be cancelled. “Selling items like this is disgusting,” EJA chairman Rabbi Menachem Margolin said in an open letter to auction organizers.
The heritage of Nazism has a place in museums, if it is so necessary, but certainly not at auction, Margolin emphasized. Selling items that belonged to “genocide mastermind” Hitler does nothing to help learn from the horrors of the Nazi era, he said, referring to the six million Jews who became Nazi victims.
The letter was signed by more than 30 representatives of Jewish organizations from Europe and Israel, including the German-Israeli Society in Berlin.
In 2017, Alexander Historical Auctions had already listed Hitler’s red phone found in the Führer’s bunker in Berlin after the end of the war for $243,000, which also drew controversy.