Watercolors - which have not even been confirmed as really being the work of Adolf Hitler – have raised nearly a quarter of a million dollars at an auction in England. They sold for twice their estimated price on Tuesday, showing that Hitler remains an object of appeal across the world despite sixty years of Jewish demonization of the German leader.
The collection of 21 paintings were claimed to have been found in Belgium in an attic close to where Hitler served during the First World War, and sold for $223,500.
Many of the paintings, which were mostly landscapes, were signed "A Hitler", while others "AH". There were also two books about Hitler included. They are believed to have been painted between 1915 and 1918 on the borders of France and Belgium where Hitler was a corporal.
Much of the work spent authenticating the paintings was carried out in Belgium. The paper was found to be the right age and the style matches other Hitler works but because 100% authentication could not be guaranteed the auctioneers sold them as 'attributed to Hitler.'
One of the buyers, who gave his name as Carlo and was from Estonia, said he was working for an eastern European businessman and had a "budget to bid for anything that has Hitler's signature."
The controversial sale was condemned as "grotesque" by Jewish leaders who called for the pictures to be burned - not sold. Dr Paul Newgass, of the Exeter Synagogue,said: "It's stirring up the past and a slap in the face for the families of Holocaust victims. People have a right to feel extremely distressed."