German dictator Adolf Hitler oversaw the Holocaust, culminating in the death of millions of Jews in Europe. His wristwatch was recently sold for over a million dollars to an anonymous bidder.
A Maryland auction house has sold a wristwatch that once belonged to Adolf Hitler for $1.1 million to an anonymous bidder, who is allegedly a European Jew.
Alexander Historical Auctions in Chesapeake City had estimated the value between $2 and $4 million, describing the watch as a “World War II relic of historic proportions.”
The auction house noted the item was “a gold Andreas Huber reversible wristwatch, given to Adolf Hitler himself most likely on April 20, 1933, when on his 44th birthday the dictator was named with former Chancellor Paul von Hindenburg, an honorary citizen of Bavaria – the first such honor in the history of Germany.”
News outlets report that Jewish leaders and others objected to the sale this week, saying it had little to no historical value.
The European Jewish Association had asked for the auction to be cancelled, calling the sale of several items [a candy bowl and a gold watch belonging to Hitler, Eva Braun’s Scottish terrier collar and Wehrmacht toilet paper] “an abhorrence.”
The EJA open letter went on to say “There is little to no intrinsic historical value to the vast bulk of the lots on display. Indeed, one can only question the motivation of those buying them.
“Europe suffered egregiously because of the perverted and murderous ideology of the Nazi party. Millions died to preserve the values of freedom that we take for granted today, including almost half a million Americans. Our continent is littered with memorial mass graves and the sites of death camps.’’
The auction house's president, Bill Panagopulos, defended the auction and said the buyer is a European Jew.
“Many people donate [Nazi artifacts] to museums and institutions, as we have done,” he said in an emailed statement to the Washington Post. “Others need the money, or simply choose to sell. That is not our decision.” The sale has led to death threats sent to him and his family, Panagopulos said.
The watch features the initials AH and a swastika, surrounded by three dates.
“The first date (20.4.89) corresponds to Hitler's date of birth in Braunau Am Inn, Austria. The second date (30.1.33) marks the date of his appointment as Chancellor of Germany, when Field Marshal Paul Von Hindenburg asked Hitler, leader of the NSDAP, to form a new German government. The third date (5.3.33) celebrates the date of the federal elections in Germany which gave Hitler access to full power,” Alexander Historical Auctions explains.
The auction house said a French soldier who was in the first unit to close in on Hitler in May 1945 at his Berchtesgaden retreat seized it as spoils of war, as it offered a letter of provenance from the soldier’s daughter for authenticity.
The auction house has sold Nazi memorabilia before, “including a Hitler Youth dagger that fetched $120 in 2016 and a Nazi flag that sold for $260 three years earlier,” the Washington Post reported.