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908410

Adolf Hitler

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Adolf Hitler, 1889-1945.  Führer and Reich Chancellor of Nazi Germany, 1933-1945.  Typed Document Signed, Adolf Hitler, one page, 8¼” x 11¾”, with integral leaf attached, Führer Headquarters, June 10, 1944.  In German, with translation. 

This is an excellent association document in which Hitler promotes the highly-decorated Hermann Fegelein, who married the sister of Hitler’s mistress Eva Braun, to the dual, corresponding ranks of SS-Gruppenführer and Waffen-SS Generalleutnant, the equivalent of a lieutenant general.  Within a year of the marriage, Fegelein was executed by an SS squadron for desertion as the Soviet army closed in on Hitler’s Berlin bunker.

Fegelein’s own autograph material is rare enough, but this is one of only three of Fegelein’s personal service documents of which we are aware.  We recently sold a second one, signed by Heinrich Himmler, the Reichsführer-SS, conferring an earlier promotion in March 1940.  Click here to see that document.  The third, Hitler’s award to Fegelein of the oak leaves to the Knight’s Cross, is illustrated in Volume I of Charles Hamilton’s classic work Leaders & Personalities of the Third Reich.

This promotion, which some believe was a wedding gift from Hitler to Fegelein, is dated a week after Fegelein married Margarethe “Gretl” Braun on June 3, 1944.  Himmler presided at the ceremony.  A two-day celebration followed at the Bavarian mountain retreats of Hitler and Martin Bormann on the Obersalzburg, above Berchtesgaden.

In January 1945, Fegelein served as a liaison officer between Himmler and Hitler at the Führer Headquarters.  He was in Hitler’s bunker at the Reich Chancellery in Berlin as Soviet troops closed in on the city in April 1945.  On April 26, he left the bunker and returned home to Charlottenburg, on the outskirts of Berlin.  Hitler noticed his absence the next day, and the SS discovered him that evening drunk at his apartment, in civilian clothes, with a woman and considerable money, his bags packed to leave.  The SS hustled him back to the bunker, where he was stripped of his decorations and held.  About the same time, Hitler learned that Himmler had secretly met with Count Folke Bernadotte, vice president of the Swedish Red Cross and a close relative of the King of Sweden, to discuss surrender to the American and British forces.  Hitler, enraged, concluded that Fegelein was part of Himmler’s intrigue. 

Historical accounts vary as to whether Eva Braun tried to intervene with Hitler, since Gretl was then pregnant, and whether Fegelein was condemned at a hastily-arranged court martial or simply shot without a trial.  What seems clear is that Fegelein was shot in the courtyard of the Reich Chancellery by an SS squadron on April 29, 1945.  Hitler’s last surviving bodyguard, Rochus Misch, told the German magazine Der Spiegel in 2007 that Hitler did not order Fegelein’s execution himself but that the order instead came from a representative of the commander of Hitler’s personal guard.

This document is on Hitler’s engraved stationery of DER FÜHRER blind embossed with the Nazi eagle at the upper left.  Hitler has signed in black fountain pen with the small, rather crabbed signature that was typical of his later handwriting.  The document is slightly toned, shows general handling, and has a small stain at the bottom left.  It also has a small ink docket, which appear to be initials and might be Fegelein’s own notation, in the lower right corner.  Overall the piece is in fine to very fine condition.

We reject Nazism and all that it represented.  We nevertheless offer this piece because of its rarity and because Nazism, although despised, played a large and undeniable role in the history of the 20th Century.

Unframed.

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