Speech notes handwritten by Adolf Hitler were sold for €34,000 at a Munich auction house on Friday, despite anger from a European Jewish group.
One nine-page manuscript, which outlined a 1939 speech the Nazi dictator gave to new military officers in Berlin, sold for well above its starting price.
The items in the auction, dating back to before the outbreak of the Second World War, were for speeches to Nazi organisations and contributors, and referred to Germany’s war preparations and the “Jewish problem”.
All were bought by anonymous bidders.
Hitler was responsible for some of the worst crimes in history during the war, having overseen the genocide of 6 million European Jews.
Bernhard Pacher, the managing director of the Hermann Historica auction house, defended Friday’s sale, saying they were of historical significance and should be preserved in a museum.
But the head of the European Jewish Association (EJA) said the decision to sell the notes “defies logic, decency and humanity”.
Rabbi Menachem Margolin said before the items were put on sale: “I cannot get my head around the sheer irresponsibility and insensitivity, in such a febrile climate, of selling items such as the ramblings of the world’s biggest killer of Jews to the highest bidder.
“What auctions like this do help legitimise Hitler enthusiasts who thrive on this sort of stuff.”
Pacher said in an interview earlier this week: “If we destroy these things and they do not go into a museum for experts to work on them, you will leave the interpretation of what was happening to the right-wing Nazi apologists, who will say Hitler never said that.
“The man was preparing the Germans that there would be a war and those who didn’t want to see that must have been totally blind — it’s in there.”
The EJA previously criticised the Hermann Historica auction house in November 2019 over plans to sell personal items belonging to Nazi leaders including Hitler, Heinrich Himmler and Hermann Göring.
A Lebanese-born Swiss real estate mogul purchased some of those items — including Hitler’s top hat and a silver-plated edition of “Mein Kampf” — in order to keep them out of the hands of neo-Nazis.
He subsequently donated them to a Jewish group.