Hitler memorabilia auction sells despite protests

"The Nazis' crimes are being trivialised here," the German government's antisemitism commissioner Felix Klein was reported to have said

A man holds the cylinder hat of German Nazi leader Adolf Hitler at the auction house Hermann Historica in Munich (Reuters photo)

An auction of Nazi memorabilia, including Adolf Hitler's top hat, raked in hundreds of thousands of euros in Munich Wednesday in the teeth of German and international protest.

The hammer fell on the Nazi leader's top hat at 50,000 euros (USD 55,310), according to the Hermann Historica auction house website, while items of clothing belonging to his partner Eva Braun each sold for thousands.

One buyer paid 130,000 euros for a silver-plated copy of Hitler's antisemitic political manifesto Mein Kampf that once belonged to senior Nazi Hermann Goering, emblazoned with an eagle and the party's swastika emblem.

Other lots of clothing and personal belongings from notorious World War II Nazi leaders like Heinrich Himmler and Rudolf Hess also packed the catalogue pages.

"The Nazis' crimes are being trivialised here," the German government's antisemitism commissioner Felix Klein told the Funke newspaper group.

"They're acting as if they're trading in perfectly normal historical art objects," but "there is a danger that Nazi relics become cult objects" for the extreme right, he added.

Ahead of the auction, European Jewish Association chairman Rabbi Menachem Margolin recalled that "it is Germany that leads Europe in the sheer volume of reported antisemitic incidents".

"We urge the German authorities to compel auction houses to divulge the names of those who are buying," who "should then be put on a government 'watch' list," Margolin said. 

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