Controversial Auction: Hitler's Watch Sold For $1.1 million
The "Alexander Historical Auctions" has put up for sale a watch said to have belonged to Nazi leader Adolf Hitler.
The amount for which the Huber-branded watch was sold for was $1.1 million, well below the auction house's expectations (between $2 - $4 million), according to Deutsche Welle.
According to the BBC, Hitler's watch has a swastika and the initials "AH" engraved on the inside cover, and was sold to an anonymous bidder.
The product catalog said the watch may have been given to the Nazi dictator as a birthday present in 1933, the year he became chancellor of Germany.
The Story Of Hitler's Watch
An auction house appraisal shows that the watch was later taken as a souvenir when about 30 French soldiers stormed Hitler's mountain retreat Berghof in May 1945. The object was then resold and has been passed down from generation to generation to the present day.
Along with the watch, other items auctioned included a dress that belonged to Eva Braun, Hitler's wife, autographed photographs of Nazi officials, and a yellow cloth Star of David with the word "Jude", which is German for Jew, printed on it.
In an interview with the German press before the auction, representatives of "Alexander Historical Auctions" said that what they are trying to do is to preserve history and that most of the items sold are held in private collections or donated to Holocaust museums.
"Whether good or bad history, it must be preserved. If you destroy history, there is no evidence that it happened," senior vice president Mindy Greenstein told Deutsche Welle.
The Association of European Jews Reacted
But the auction has sparked disapproval from the Association of European Jews, whose president, Rabbi Menachem Margolin, believes the deal would give "aid to those who idealize what the Nazi party stood for."
"Whilst it is obvious that the lessons of history need to be learned - and legitimate Nazi artifacts do belong in museums or places of higher learning - the items that you are selling definitely do not," he wrote in an open letter signed by 34 Jewish leaders.
The document demanded that the Nazi objects be withdrawn from the auction, with the sale labeled "abhorrent".
The auction house that sold Hitler's watch is not the first sale of its kind, having put other Nazi memorabilia up for sale in the past.
Who Was Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler, born on 20 April 1889 in Austria and died on 30 April 1945 in Nazi Germany, was the leader of the National Socialist German Workers' Party, Chancellor of Germany from 1933, and 1934 absolute ruler (Führer) of Germany.
Hitler came to power in 1933 and transformed the country into a one-party dictatorship based on the totalitarian and authoritarian ideology of National Socialism.
His aggressive expansionist policy is considered the main cause of the outbreak of World War II, which resulted in colossal human losses. Numerous crimes against humanity are linked to his name, including the implementation of a nationalist and racist plan for the mass extermination of Jews and other "undesirables" in Europe and the liquidation of political opponents in Germany.
Adolf Hitler ruled Nazi Germany from 1933 to 1945, orchestrating the systematic murder of 11 million people, six million of whom were killed because they were Jewish.