Hitler’s Watch Sells For $1.1m In Controversial Sale

At a US auction, a watch rumored to have belonged to Nazi leader Adolf Hitler brought $1.1 million (£900,000).

The Huber watch displays a swastika and bears the initials AH engraved on it. It was purchased from an anonymous bidder.

Prior to the auction at Alexander Historical Auctions in Maryland, Jewish leaders denounced it.

The auction house, which has in the past offered for sale Nazi artifacts, told German media that its goal was to preserve history.

Between 1933 and 1945, Adolf Hitler served as the leader of Nazi Germany, presiding over the methodical killing of up to 11 million people, six million of whom were Jewish.

The product catalogue for the watch says it was possibly given as a birthday present to the fascist leader in 1933, the year he became Chancellor of Germany.

An assessment by the auction house reads that the watch was taken as a souvenir when some 30 French soldiers stormed the Berghof, Hitler’s mountain retreat in May, 1945.

It is then thought the timepiece was resold and passed down through several generations until now.

Other articles in the auction included a dress that belonged to Hitler’s wife, Eva Braun, autographed pictures of Nazi officials and a yellow cloth Star of David imprinted with the word “Jude”, which is German for Jew. During the holocaust, the Nazis forced Jewish people to wear the yellow identifiers as armbands or badges, with the intention to isolate and harass them.

An open letter signed by 34 Jewish leaders described the sale as “abhorrent” and called on the Nazi items to be pulled from the auction.

The transaction, according to Rabbi Menachem Margolin, president of the European Jewish Association, “succors people who idealize what the Nazi party stood for.”

While it is evident that history must be understood and that authentic Nazi artifacts belong in museums or educational institutions, he added, “the ones you are selling certainly do not.”

In a statement to the German media prior to the auction, Alexander Historical Auctions stated that its goal was to preserve history and that the majority of the auctioned objects were either donated to Holocaust museums or maintained in private collections.

“Whether good or bad history, it must be preserved,” Senior Vice President Mindy Greenstein told Deutsche Welle. “If you destroy history, there is no proof that it happened”.

Documents supplied by the auction house state that it cannot provide proof that Hitler actually wore the watch. But an appraisal by an independent specialist concluded that it “in all likelihood” belonged to him.

Despite the watch fetching over $1m it fell short of the auction house’s $2m to $4m estimate, Deutsche Welle reported.

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