Washington: A watch believed to have belonged to Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler has sold for a whopping $1.1 million at a U.S. auction despite apprehension from members of the Jewish community, according to a news outlet.
The watch made by German watch company Huber, which has a swastika and the initials AH engraved on it, was sold to an anonymous bidder at the historic Alexander Auction in Maryland, according to the BBC.
The auction house, which deals in historic autographs, documents and photographs, militaria from all conflicts and important relics, says the watch was given to Hitler most likely on April 20, 1933, the day of his 44th birthday. anniversary when he became Chancellor of Germany. .
“The watch and its history have been studied by some of the world’s most experienced and respected watchmakers and military historians, all of whom have concluded that it is authentic and indeed belonged to Adolf Hitler,” the auctioneer said in its product catalog.
He also said the watch was taken as a war souvenir when a group of around 30 French soldiers stormed the Berghof, Hitler’s mountain retreat on May 4, 1945.
Among the members of the group was Sergeant Robert Mignot, who returned to France with the watch, resold it to his cousin, according to the auction house.
The watch remained in the exclusive possession of the Mignot family and had never been offered for sale before, he added.
But an open letter signed by 34 Jewish leaders described the sale as “odious” and called for the Nazi items to be removed from the auction, which also included a dress that once belonged to Hitler’s wife, Eva Braun, autographed photos of Nazi officials and a yellow cloth Star of David printed with the word “Jude”, which means Jew in German.
Rabbi Menachem Margolin, president of the European Jewish Association, said the transaction brought “relief to those who idealize what the Nazi Party stood for”.
Speaking to German media ahead of the sale, Alexander Historical Auctions senior vice president Mindy Greenstein said his goal was to preserve history and most of the items sold are kept in private collections or donated. to Holocaust museums.
“Whether good or bad, history must be preserved,” she told Deutsche Welle, as quoted by the BBC.
“If you destroy the story, there’s no evidence it happened.”