Anonymous Jewish buyer wins Hitler's watch in million-dollar US auction

The item was expected to fetch as much as $4m


A watch belonging to Adolf Hitler has been bought at an auction in the United States by an anonymous European Jewish bidder for nearly £1m.

The Huber watch, believed to have been given to Hitler as a 44th birthday present, was taken by a French soldier when Hitler's residence was stormed by Allied troops in May 1945.

In a sale that failed to meet the predicted price of $2m-$4m, the watch was sold for $1.1m to a European Jewish bidder that has not been named.

According to the auction house, Alexander Historical Auctions, the watch has been examined and verified by experts who have testified to its authenticity.

Calling it "one of the most important timepieces ever created", a brochure promoting the item tells the story of how Sergeant Robert Mignot came by the watch and how it ended up on sale.

The timepiece was part of a collection of items from the Third Reich including clothes belonging to Eva Braun, letters between high-ranking Nazi party staff and the personal effects of Hitler himself.

Last week, European Jewish groups protested the sale of Nazi memorabilia in an open letter, calling the auction "abhorrent" and saying “There is little to no intrinsic historical value to the vast bulk of the lots on display."

Bill Pangapolous, the auction house president defended the sale, telling the Washington Post: “What we sell is criminal evidence, no matter how insignificant. It is tangible, real in-your-face proof that Hitler and Nazis lived, and also persecuted and killed tens of millions of people. To destroy or in any way impede the display or protection of this material is a crime against history,” 

He added: “Many people donate Nazi artifacts to museums and institutions, as we have done.

"Others need the money, or simply choose to sell. That is not our decision."

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