Adolf Hitler’s top hat, a silver-cased copy of his political treatise “Mein Kampf” and a dress worn by his companion Eva Braun raked in hundreds of thousands of euros in a Munich auction amid an international condemnation.
The Führer’s headgear was purchased for the equivalent of $55,400, according to the Hermann Historica auction house, which has a long tradition of peddling Nazi memorabilia dating back to the 1980s.
Emblazoned with an eagle and the party’s swastika emblem, Hitler’s anti-Semitic manifesto – which once belonged to senior Nazi Hermann Goering – sold for 130,000 euros, or about $144,000.
And Braun’s cocktail dress went for twice the expected price, fetching 4,600 Euros, or roughly $5,000. Braun and Hitler committed suicide together on April 30, 1945, a day after they tied the knot.
The roundly denounced auction was expected to continue Thursday amid tight security, with other lots of clothing and personal belongings from notorious Nazi leaders like Heinrich Himmler and Rudolf Hess filling the catalog pages, according to AFP.
“We don’t want to attract any closet Nazis,” auction house diector Bernhard Pacher told Deutsche Welle.
Pacher said he has been inundated with emails from people condemning the online sale.
“We have had one friendly e-mail saying they see it the way we do, meaning these are historical objects,” said Pacher, whose auctions cover other objects, not just Nazi memorabilia.
“But 99% of the emails we received included very bad insults where history is reduced to claiming we are just greedy neo-Nazis,” he added, according to Reuters.
Before the auction, European Jewish Association Chairman Rabbi Menachem Margolin recalled that “it is Germany that leads Europe in the sheer volume of reported anti-Semitic incidents”.
“We urge the German authorities to compel auction houses to divulge the names of those who are buying,” who “should then be put on a government ‘watch’ list,” he said.
Margolin made a “moral” appeal to Pacher to cancel the auction in light of the Holocaust, in which some 6 million Jews were slaughtered.
“It’s wrong to monetize these blood-stained objects, especially in Germany,” Margolin said. “I understand that buying and selling Nazi souvenirs is not illegal. It is not a question of legality; it is a moral one. It’s wrong.”
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