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Hitler’s watch sells for $1.1 million in a contentious auction

Hitler’s watch sells for $1.1 million in a contentious auction

At a US auction, a watch rumored to have belonged to Nazi leader Adolf Hitler was bought for $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 fascist leader may have received the watch as a birthday present in 1933, the year he was appointed Chancellor of Germany, according to the watch’s official brochure.

According to an appraisal by the auction company, the watch was taken as a memento in May 1945 when about 30 French soldiers attacked the Berghof, Hitler’s mountain retreat. The timepiece is said to have been sold again and passed down through multiple generations till today. A dress once owned by Eva Braun, the wife of Adolf Hitler, autographed photos of Nazi leaders, and a yellow fabric Star of David bearing the word “Jude,” which is German for “Jew,” were among the other items up for auction. To isolate and persecute Jews during the Holocaust, the Nazis made them wear yellow identifiers as armbands or badges. Thirty four Jewish leaders issued an open letter calling for the Nazi artifacts to be removed from the auction, calling the sale “abhorrent.” The transaction, according to Rabbi Menachem Margolin, president of the European Jewish Association, “succors people who idealize what the Nazi party stood for.”

In a statement to the German media before 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. Senior Vice President Mindy Greenstein told Deutsche Welle that history must be maintained, regardless of how positive or negative it was. “If you destroy history, there is no proof that it happened”. According to documents provided by the auction house, there is no evidence that Hitler actually wore the watch. However, a specialist’s evaluation found that it “in all likelihood” belonged to him. Despite selling for almost $1 million, the watch fell short of the auction house’s $2 million to $4 million estimate, according to Deutsche Welle.

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