Hitler's watch sells for $1.1m in controversial sale

Published: 30 Jul 2022

Online Desk

A watch said to have belonged to Nazi leader Adolf Hitler has sold for $1.1m (£900,000) at an auction in the US.

The Huber timepiece, which sold to an anonymous bidder, shows a swastika and has the initials AH engraved on it, reports BBC.

Jewish leaders condemned the auction ahead of the sale at Alexander Historical Auctions in Maryland.

However the auction house - which has sold Nazi memorabilia in the past - told German media its aim was to preserve history.

Adolf Hitler led Nazi Germany between 1933 and 1945, orchestrating the systematic murder of as many as 11 million people - six million of whom were killed because they were Jewish.

The product catalogue for the watch says it was possibly given as a birthday present to the fascist leader in 1933, the year he became Chancellor of Germany.

An assessment by the auction house reads that the watch was taken as a souvenir when some 30 French soldiers stormed the Berghof, Hitler's mountain retreat in May, 1945.

It is then thought the timepiece was resold and passed down through several generations until now.

Other articles in the auction included a dress that belonged to Hitler's wife, Eva Braun, autographed pictures of Nazi officials and a yellow cloth Star of David imprinted with the word "Jude", which is German for Jew. During the holocaust, the Nazis forced Jewish people to wear the yellow identifiers as armbands or badges, with the intention to isolate and harass them.

An open letter signed by 34 Jewish leaders described the sale as "abhorrent" and called on the Nazi items to be pulled from the auction.

Footage of the destruction within a hangar-like dormitory filled with burned or destroyed bunk beds appeared online on Friday morning. The footage came from Russian state TV channel Russia 1. It then cuts to footage of destruction and bloodshed outside the building.

The BBC cannot verify whether the interior and exterior shots are at the same location.

The BBC's Reality Check team have, however, confirmed that the shots of the outside of the building match Prison No. 120, near Olenivka.

The prison was empty before February 2022, and has been used exclusively for POWs and civilians who didn't pass Russian filtration - a system where people are interrogated before it is decided where they will be sent.

Andriy Biletskyi, a founder of the nationalist Azov Battalion, said a number of the unit's soldiers were among those killed.

It has been established that a number of Ukrainian troops who surrendered to Russian forces after a protracted siege at the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol were taken to Olenivka.