The Wristwatch In Question
Amidst controversy, Adolf Hitler‘s so-called gold wristwatch has recently been auctioned for a whopping USD 1.1 million in the US. Although no one is sure whether the watch belonged to the Nazi Dictator, an anonymous bidder bought the timepiece, manufactured by German watch firm Huber, at the Alexander Historical Auctions in Maryland in the last week of July 2022.
Even before the auction, the Jewish community had triggered a controversy by describing the sale as abhorrent. Rabbi Menachem Margolin, the Chairperson of the European Jewish Association, stressed that the auction gave “succour to those who idealise what the Nazi party stood for”. He also said that the Nazi memorabilia should never be auctioned. However, Mindy Greenstein, the Senior Vice President of Alexander Historical Auctions, rejected the allegation, saying: “Whether good or bad history, it must be preserved. If you destroy history, there is no proof that it happened.“
The controversial wristwatch was discovered during the Second World War. Alexander Historical Auctions has mentioned in a statement that 30 French soldiers stormed the Berghof, the summer residence of Führer in Bavaria, in May 1945. One of them was French Sergeant Robert Mignot, who reportedly found the watch and returned to France with it. Later, he had resold the timepiece over to his cousin. However, the auction house authorities did not disclose how it received the watch.
According to the statement, Hitler’s initials are engraved on the rear side of the dial. Just above Hitler’s initials, there are eagle in flight, and the Nazi-era swastika symbol. The watch also has three dates engraved on it. One of them is the birthday of the Nazi supremo, while the second one is the day Hitler had become the Chancellor of Germany, and the third one is the day the Nazi Party had won the election in 1933. According to the auction house, the timepiece was originally made by LeCoultre and a case created by a subcontractor. The combination was reversible, making the entire case rotate by 180 degrees. It is believed that Hitler had received this classic reversible watch from members of the Nationalist Socialist Workers Party of Germany as a gift on his 44th birthday (on April 20, 1933).
As per the product catalog at the auction house, the world’s most experienced and respected watchmakers and military historians carried out research on the watch and its history, and all of whom came to the conclusion that it was authentic and indeed belonged to Adolf Hitler.
Apart from Hitler’s wristwatch, other Nazi memorabilia, including a dress that belonged to Hitler’s wife Eva Braun and autographed pictures of Nazi officials, were also up for auction.
It may be noted that Alexander Historical Auctions had sold Nazi memorabilia in the past.
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