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Top hat belonging to Adolf Hitler sells for €50,000 at auction amid international protests

Several items of Nazi memorabilia fetched hundreds of thousands of Euro at the auction.

A man holds a hat with the initials of Adolf Hitler prior to an auction in Munich
A man holds a hat with the initials of Adolf Hitler prior to an auction in Munich
Image: AP/PA Images

AN AUCTION OF Nazi memorabilia, including Adolf Hitler’s top hat, raked in hundreds of thousands of Euro in Munich Wednesday amid German and international protests.

The Nazi leader’s top hat sold for €50,000 according to the Hermann Historica auction house website, while items of clothing belonging to his partner Eva Braun sold for thousands each.

One buyer paid €130,000 for a silver-plated copy of Hitler’s antisemitic political manifesto Mein Kampf that once belonged to senior Nazi Hermann Goering, emblazoned with an eagle and the party’s swastika emblem.

Other lots of clothing and personal belongings from notorious World War II Nazi leaders like Heinrich Himmler and Rudolf Hess also packed the catalogue pages.

“The Nazis’ crimes are being trivialised here,” the German government’s antisemitism commissioner Felix Klein told the Funke newspaper group.

“They’re acting as if they’re trading in perfectly normal historical art objects,” he said, adding that there was “a danger that Nazi relics become cult objects” for the extreme right”.

Ahead of the auction, European Jewish Association chairman Rabbi Menachem Margolin recalled that “it is Germany that leads Europe in the sheer volume of reported antisemitic incidents”.

“We urge the German authorities to compel auction houses to divulge the names of those who are buying,” he said, saying they should be put on a government ‘watch’ list.

Many of the items belonging to top Nazi leaders were seized by US soldiers in the final days of World War II.

The dresses belonging to Braun, Hitler’s long-term companion who was briefly his wife before their death, were found among 40 trunks seized by the US military in May 1945 in Salzburg in Austria.

Some of the more unusual lots include a copy of Hitler’s rental contract in Munich and a pair of sunglasses worn by a defendant at the Nazi war crimes trials in Nuremberg to avoid the glare of the floodlights.

- © AFP 2019

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