A torch from Adolf Hitler's 1936 Olympics, the first time the flame was brought from Greece, is going up for auction, a timely sale of an unusual piece of history.
Alexander Historical Auctions of Chesapeake City, Md., said the 10-and-a-half-inch steel torch was a gift to the runner from the German Olympic Committee. 1936 was the first time the flame exchange was run from Greece to the site of the games.
The Berlin games were famous for several reasons, but mostly because they highlighted the rise of Hitler and it whas where American Jesse Owens won four gold medals.
Before the games, the official Nazi party paper, the Völkischer Beobachter, wrote in the strongest terms that Jews should not be allowed to participate. However, when threatened with a boycott by other nations, Hitler relented and allowed all ethnicities to participate. There were even a few Jews on the German team, which collected the most medals.
The torch is engraved with a Germanic eagle clutching five Olympic rings above the legend: "FACKEL-STAFFEL-LAUF OLYMPIA-BERLIN 1936, or "Torch Run Olympia-Berlin 1936." Also illustrated is the route the flame took, from Olympia, Greece to Berlin.
The auction includes this Hitler Youth athletic shirt.
Alexander's sale, online and in person, takes place August 23-24. The online site to view the torch and bid is http://www.historyauctioneer.com/.
It could bring as much as $6,000.
Bill Panagopulos, Alexander's president, said, "This torch reminds us of the importance of keeping politics out of the Olympic games, something the world seems largely unable to accomplish."
Alexander sells historical items, especially from the World War II era. In their upcoming auction, for example, it is featuring:
— An original watercolor painted and signed by Adolf Hitler.
— D-Day invasion plans and maps used to assault Omaha Beach.
— An official ground-breaking shovel used by Fritz Todt to commence work on the Autobahn.
— A Jewish ghetto bank note signed by Oskar Schindler.
— A Japanese flag signed by 26 war crimes trials defendants.
Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at email@example.com