$1.1M auction sale of Hitler’s watch in Md. draws sharp criticism from Jewish leaders

A gold watch likely gifted to Adolf Hitler on his 44th birthday has been sold at auction in Chesapeake City, Maryland, despite the protests of dozens of Jewish leaders who called the sale “abhorrent.”

The Andreas Huber reversible wristwatch, which was estimated to be valued at an upward of $4 million, sold on Thursday morning for $1.1 million at Alexander Historical Auctions.

In a letter co-signed by 34 Jewish leaders on Wednesday, Rabbi Menachem Margolin, chairman of the European Jewish Association, requested the auction house cancel the auction, noting the “little to no intrinsic historical value to the vast bulk of the lots on display.”

Screenshot of Hitler’s watch that was auctioned off in Maryland. (Courtesy Alexandria Historical Auctions)

Other items in Thursday’s auction included a collar belonging to Hitler’s wife’s dog, toilet paper, cutlery and Champagne glasses.

“This auction, whether unwittingly or not, is doing two things: one, giving succour to those who idealise what the Nazi party stood for. Two: Offering buyers the chance to titillate a guest or loved one with an item belonging to a genocidal murderer and his supporters,” Margolin wrote.

The watch was seized from Hitler’s retreat in southeastern Germany by a French soldier in May 1945, according to the auction listing.

“It is an absolutely unique and important historical object,” the listing said, going on to call it “one of the most important timepieces ever created.”

Margolin wrote in Wednesday’s letter that while “legitimate Nazi artifacts do belong in museums or places of higher learning — the items that you are selling clearly do not.”

“That they are sold to the highest bidder, on the open market is an indictment to our society, one in which the memory, suffering and pain of others is overridden for financial gain,” Margolin wrote.

Back in 2016, the auction house sold Hitler’s copy of “Mein Kampf,” among other World War II memorabilia.

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Dana Sukontarak

Dana Sukontarak is a Digital Writer/Editor for WTOP.com. She loves haiku poetry, short sci-fi stories and word games. She grew up in Prince George’s County, Maryland, and currently lives in Silver Spring.

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