bA gold watch by Adolf Hitler is believed to have fetched more than $1 million at a controversial auction in the United States. The watch, which has a reversible case and is engraved with a royal eagle and swastika, was found on Thursday for $1.1 million, according to auction house Alexander Historical Auction. This was well below the estimate of between two and four million dollars.
Several other Nazi-era items were also sold at auction in the state of Maryland. According to the Alexander Historical Auction website, a royal eagle is believed to have found $200,000 at the Berlin Reich Chancellery. A bronze writing pad on which Hitler signed the Munich Agreement in 1938 connecting the border regions of Czechoslovakia was auctioned for $290,000.
“The sale of these items is disgusting”
According to the auction house, Hitler was given a gold watch by members of the NSDAP in 1933. It was found on May 4, 1945 – four days after Hitler’s suicide in Berlin – by a French soldier at Hitler’s former Alpine residence, Berchtesgaden. The watch is said to have been in the soldier’s family for decades.
The auction of the items had already triggered sharp criticism. The European Jewish Association (EJA), the Jewish umbrella organization, called for the auction to be cancelled. “The sale of these items is disgusting,” EJC President Rabbi Menachem Margolin said in an open letter to auction organizers.
The Nazi legacy may be in museums, but certainly not under the hammer, insisted Margolin. Objects relating to “genocide” Hitler did not contribute in any way to learning from the atrocities of the Nazi era, he emphasized, referring to the estimated six million Jewish victims of the Nazi era.
The letter was signed by more than 30 Jewish representatives from Europe and Israel, including the German-Israeli Society in Berlin.
In 2017, the auction house Alexander Historical Auctions already auctioned a red telephone belonging to Adolf Hitler that was found after the end of the war in the Führerbunker in Berlin for $243,000.