Spring Auction 2019 Sale 75
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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 4/30/2019
An incredible association signed photograph, a famous Heinrich Hoffmann image of Adolf Hitler smiling and chatting with a young Jewish girl, boldly inscribed by him in black ink: “The dear Gretel Adolf Hitler Obersalzburg 1936”. The 9” x 6 ¾” photo, mounted to 11 ½” x 9 ¼” (sight), is double-matted and set into a gilt wood frame. Hoffmann took a number of photos that day showing Hitler with the young girl, and they became favorites of Hitler, Hoffmann, and the German public. This signed photograph has been further embellished with the addition of five edelweiss flowers which were applied to the photo by the young girl. Fine condition, matted and framed. Author David Irving, who illustrates this photo on his website, theorizes that the reference to “Gretel” instead of using the girl’s actual name may have been a reference to the character in the Grimm’s fairy tale. However, by the time he signed this photo, Hitler was already aware that his friend, Rosa Bernile Nienau, was Jewish and may have used “Gretel” to cover his tracks in the event the girl’s religion was revealed publicly. ROSA BERNILE NIENAU (1926–1943), called “Bernile” and “Rosa” by Hitler, became known as "the Führer's child" or “sweetheart” because of her close contact with Adolf Hitler. Soon after their introduction, it was discovered that the girl was one-quarter Jewish, yet Hitler refused to sever his relationship with her until years later. An only child, Bernile’s father, physician Bernhard Nienau (1887-1926) died shortly before she was born. Her mother Karoline (b. Helwig) (1892-1962) was a nurse and moved to Munich around 1928 along with her mother, Ida Voit, who widowed or divorced Helwig, b. Morgenstern (1867-1942). Thus, young Bernile was one-quarter Jewish, and therefore “Jewish” under German racial laws. In the spring of 1933, Bernile joined a group of visitors celebrating Hitler’s birthday at the Obersalzberg and she was chosen to have a personal visit with the Fuhrer, probably because of their identical birthdays. She quickly developed a close and warm friendship with her “Uncle Hitler” which lasted until 1938. Indeed, the Bundesarchive retains 17 letters from her to Hitler and aide Wilhelm Bruckner between 1935 and 1938. Research shows that even early on, Hitler became aware of the girl’s Jewish heritage but chose to ignore it, either for personal or propaganda reasons. However, when Reichminister Martin Bormann discovered her lack of “pure" German blood, he forbade mother and daughter access to the Berghof. Photographer Heinrich Hoffmann also complained that Bormann had forbidden him to continue to publish photos showing the leader with "his child". In the book “Hitler, As I Saw Him”, Hoffmann tells us that Hitler is said to have overruled Bormann, complaining: "There are people who have a true talent for spoiling my every joy." Despite Hoffman’s continued use of Nienau’s images in his books and publications, by May, 1938 the family was ordered to cease contact with upper party members, including Hitler. Bernile, who learned the profession of a technical draftsman, died on October 5, 1943 at the age of 17 in Schwabing Hospital of spinal polio. ALSO INCLUDED: Paperbound book: “Adolf Hitler A Man and His People”, issued by Illustrierter Beobachter (Munich: Verlag Franz Eher), 1936. 96pp. 10 ½” x 14 ½” in light brown cloth with hand-painted gilt, black and red title. A fawning, fairly complete history of Hitler’s rise to power, and many images of his adoring public. Four photos appearing on page 18 were taken by Hoffmann the same day as the one offered here, three showing Hitler and Nienau holding hands. Very good. ALSO INCLUDED: A period Hoffmann photo postcard, 3 ½” x 5 ½”, bearing the same image as the signed image sold here. A remarkable signed photograph never before offered.
Current Bidding (Reserve Has Been Met)
Minimum Bid: $3,750.00
Final prices include buyers premium: $20,000.00
Estimate: $7,500 - $10,000
Auction closed on Wednesday, May 1, 2019.
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