Washington (AFP) – At a controversial auction in the United States, a gold watch that is said to have once belonged to Adolf Hitler was auctioned for more than a million dollars. The watch, which features a reversible case and is engraved with the imperial eagle and swastika, fetched $1.1 million on Thursday, according to auction house Alexander Historical Auctions. That was well below the estimate of between two and four million dollars.
Numerous other objects from the Nazi era were also sold at the auction in the state of Maryland. According to the Alexander Historical Auctions website, an imperial eagle believed to have been in the Berlin Reich Chancellery fetched $200,000. A bronze writing pad on which Hitler is said to have signed the Munich Agreement to annex the border areas of what was then Czechoslovakia in 1938 was auctioned for $290,000.
According to the auction house, the gold watch was given to Hitler by members of the NSDAP in 1933. She was found on May 4, 1945 – four days after Hitler’s suicide in Berlin – by a French soldier in Hitler’s former Alpine residence in Berchtesgaden. The watch is said to have been in the soldier’s family for decades.
The auction of the objects had triggered sharp criticism in advance. The Jewish umbrella organization European Jewish Association (EJA) called for the auction to be canceled. “The sale of these items is despicable,” said EJC Chairman Rabbi Menachem Margolin in an open letter to the auction organizers.
Nazi legacies may belong in museums, but certainly not under the hammer, emphasized Margolin. The objects belonging to the “genocide” Hitler in no way contribute 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.