The Shmooze

Nazi Memorabilia on the Block, Again

By Michael Kaminer

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It seems to have become a monthly ritual: A trove of never-before-seen Nazi memorabilia goes up for auction somewhere in suburban Britain. This time, it’s a collection of “previously unpublished photographs of Adolf Hitler” taken by his personal photographer before the start of World War II, according to the Scotsman newspaper.

The snaps are set to go under the gavel January 18 at JP Humbert, an auction house in Towcester, Northamptonshire, UK. The company’s web site euphemistically refers to the lot as “Specialist – Militaria”. “We’ve got somewhere around 800 negatives and maybe 600 stills, some from these negatives and other stills that don’t have a negative that they were developed from,” auctioneer Jonathan Humbert told the Scotsman. Heinrich Hoffmann, der Fuhrer’s photographer, is believed to have passed on the collection himself to an unnamed “elderly gentleman who I understand used to live in Germany,” Humbert said.

The images all date before the Second World War, according to the UK Telegraph, with images captured at “party days”, including one at Nuremberg in 1934. There are photographs of Paul von Hindenburg, the president from 1925 until his death in 1934, when Hitler took over as head of state. “There’s also images of a meeting with Mussolini in Munich and the winter and summer Olympics of 1936 and also more sinister images of Hitler attending an SS officers training school,” Humbert told the newspaper.

Bids are expected to come in from around the world, the Telegraph says. ”Various experts have looked at these and there are rumblings that maybe there could be a six-figure sum achieved,” Humbert told the paper. ”It really is a sinister but intriguing social history of the rise of the Nazi Party, never before been seen.”

In October, the Forward reported on an auction of lovely landscape paintings by Hitler deputy Rudolf Hess; in September, the Forward shared news that “romantic” landscapes by Hitler himself would hit the auction block. In 2009, another cache of art by Hitler netted $143,000 at a UK auction, MSNBC reported.


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