Nazi map sale enrages dealer

An auctioneer has defended the sale of a map drawn by Hitler's personal physician and signed by four other Nazi concentration camp officers.

The map, showing the 340-mile route from Dachau to Paderborn, in north Germany, fetched £190 at Wallis & Wallis auction house in Lewes, Sussex, on Tuesday.

It was described by the company as "fascinating", and formed part of a collection of "Imperial German and Third Reich items".

Senior partner Roy Butler said the company deals only with military items and often auctions Nazi-related pieces. He said buyers of such lots include major museums hoping to complete exhibitions on the Shoah.
But antiques dealer James Brown, who had enlisted Wallis & Wallis to auction items including Tibetan swords, has now withdrawn his lots in protest at the sale of the Nazi memorabilia.

"It was only when I looked at their catalogue that I saw the map and I thought that whatever the historical interest, it just did not sit right with me," he said.

"When it comes to these sorts of people [concentration camp doctors] you do not need to be Jewish to find this immoral. A line has to be drawn somewhere. They were not in the camps to help people.

"I find it offensive and I do not want to sell my items with them or be associated with them."

The map belonged to the family of Lieutenant P Limbrey of the Royal Scots Greys, the British officer who accompanied the Nazis to Paderborn in July 1946. The identity of the new owner is not known.

It was drawn by General Karl Brandt to help transport the Waffen SS officers ahead of their trial for war crimes.

Brandt was the highest medical officer in the Nazi regime and masterminded the Third Reich's so-called "euthanasia" programme.

His fellow captives were General Professor Karl Gebhardt, Himmler's personal physician; Colonel Doctor Fritz Fischer; Percy Treite, chief doctor at Ravensbruck concentration camp; and Herta Oberheuser, another Ravensbruck doctor.

Brandt, Gebhardt, Fischer and Oberheuser were subsequently put on trial at Nuremberg. The first two were sentenced to death by hanging, the others to life imprisonment and 20 years' imprisonment respectively.
Oberheuser was released in 1952 for good behaviour and later became a family doctor in Germany. She died in 1978.

Treite committed suicide after being sentenced to death at the Hamburg Ravensbruck Trials.

"This is an incredible item. The Nazi officers had surrendered to the British army and had to be escorted. The British did not know how to get there so the Nazi officer drew the map," said Mr Butler.

He said his company sympathised with anyone who suffered at the hands of the Nazis.

    Last updated: 12:20pm, October 8 2008