Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler’s handwritten speech notes sold at an auction in Germany on Friday, despite concerns the sale could encourage neo-Nazis as some German coronavirus lockdown protests have displayed increasing anti-Semitic and neo-Nazi beliefs and imagery.
Bernhard Pacher, the managing director of the Hermann Historica auction house in Munich, told Associated Press the manuscripts are historically significant and should be preserved in a museum.
The manuscripts, all dated before World War II, were directed at Nazi-party organizations and contributors and reference preparing for the war and the “Jewish problem,” he said.
If the speeches are destroyed and not given to historians, “right-wing Nazi apologists” will claim Hitler never said these things and will come to their own interpretations, Pacher said, noting they make it clear Hitler was readying the Germans to go to war.
The manuscripts sold to unnamed bidders at above the asking price, with a 1939 outline for a speech to new military officers in Berlin eight months before the start of World War II selling at the highest price, $40,300.
Rabbi Menachem Margolin, the head of the Brussels-based European Jewish Association, called the auction irresponsible and insensitive in a statement and said auctions like this “help legitimize Hitler enthusiasts.”
Pacher said the auction house ensures any Nazi-era items are not sold to neo-Nazis, noting they are often bought by museums and researchers.
Organizations that monitor anti-Semitism have noticed an increase in anti-Semitic displays at recent coronavirus lockdown protests. Thomas Haldenwang, president of Germany’s domestic intelligence agency BfV, said there is a trend in extremists, especially right-wing extremists, making use of the protests.
2,000. That is how many attacks on Jewish people or Jewish institutions there were in Germany last year, a 13% increase from 2018, according to the government’s annual report on politically motivated crimes.
Last year, Lebanese philanthropist Abdallah Chatila purchased Hitler’s top hat and a silver-plated edition of Mein Kampf from Hermann Historica. Chatila told Deutsche Welle he donated them to an Israeli fundraising association.