The only memo from Nazi leader Adolf Hitler rejecting an 11th hour rescue mission and pledging to remain in Berlin to the death has surfaced and is part of one of the largest ever auctions of World War II memorabilia.
Dated six days before Hitler committed suicide on April 30, 1945, he was defiant in staying in Berlin to provide a “good example” for others left in the bombed out city as allied troops moved in.
“I shall remain in Berlin, so as to take part, in honorable fashion, in the decisive battle for Germany, and to set a good example to all those remaining. I believe that in this way I shall be rendering Germany the best service,” said the memo, a transcript read by a radio operator in a call to Field Marshal Ferdinand Schorner who offered to rescue the fuhrer.
The online sale takes place Tuesday and Wednesday and is hosted by Maryland-based Alexander Historical Auctions, which often previews sales to Secrets. The sale includes memos and artifacts from D-Day, the fall of Berlin and other elements of World War II.
The Hitler Berlin memo package, expected to fetch $80,000 also includes the telegram from Schorner. In it, he said, “I should like - as your field marshal, and on behalf of all the brave soldiers, who are fighting for you, as well as those who have laid down their lives for you - to ask you, at this grave hour, to leave Berlin and to assume command ... from the southern sector.”
He then added, “You alone are Germany ... If you fell, Germany would also.” Of course, he did and they did.
“This is the only such written statement known in which Hitler declares his resolve to die in Berlin. He committed suicide days later, hiding deep within his bunker,” said Alexander Historical Auctions President Bill Panagopulos.
The auction has 1,461 other items in it including a signed photograph of Hitler given to a young girl, Rosa Bernile Nienau. Hitler maintained his friendship with despite knowing that she was a Jew.
Of special “historic interest,” he added, are the set of notes on Allied surrender demands to Germany’s chief negotiator and that paved the way for unconditional surrender. Also at auction is the Allied order given to arrest the entire German government, ending Hitler’s “Thousand Year Reich.”
D-Day items also take a front and center place, especially since the 75th anniversary of the Normandy landing is in June.
The auction includes three “top secret” maps owned by American Gen. Harold Blakeley showing Utah Beach, St. Mere Eglise, and Carentan, a Waffen-SS map of the defenses before Caen, and a top secret British chart showing D-Day convoy assignments, said Panagopulos.
And there are even World War I offerings, such as rare combat reports from British flying aces and a document signed by Arthur Roy Brown, who shot down the “Red Baron,” Manfred von Richtofen.