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Adolf Wagner

Excellent association signed presentation photograph of the Bavarian Minister and Nazi Gauleiter

Adolf Wagner, 1890-1944.  Bavarian Minister of the Interior; Bavarian Minister of Education and Culture; Deputy Prime Minister of Bavaria; Nazi Gauleiter of Munich-Upper Bavaria.  Inscribed photograph signed Adolf Wagner and dated Munich, April 15th, 1936, in his hand.  In German, with translation.

This is a very scarce presentation photograph of Wagner with an excellent association.  Wagner has inscribed and signed to SS Obergruppenführer Friedrich Karl Freiherr von Eberstein, the Führer of the SS Oberabschnitt Süd and the Police President of Munich.  In the inscription, he waxes philosophical:  National Socialism, he writes, is the only world view suitable to lead Germans throughout the world back to Volk and Fatherland."

Wagnerʼs flawed world view was genuine, if demented.  He was one of Adolf Hitlerʼs old Munich comrades from the early days of the German National Socialist movement.  Wagner joined the Nazi party in 1923 and participated in the failed Beer Hall Putsch on November 9, 1923.  He annually served as the master of ceremonies for commemorations of the Putsch at the Burgerbraukeller in Munich.

Following brief imprisonment, he became a member of the Bavarian diet in 1924.  In 1929, he was appointed the Nazi Gauleiter, or District Leader, of Munich-Upper Bavaria.  Four years later, Wagner became the State Commissioner for Bavaria and, in rapid succession, Bavarian Interior Minister and Bavarian Deputy Prime Minister.  He also was elected to the German Reichstag.  He held absolute authority in Bavaria, and under his oversight, arrests of opponents of the Nazi regime increased substantially. 

Wagner increased his stature with Hitler as a member of the circle who helped to execute followers of SA leader Ernst Röhm, Hitler's erstwhile close friend whom Hitler personally arrested and ordered shot in the 1934 purge of his political opponents known as the Night of the Long Knives.  As a result, Wagner was appointed to Hitler's personal staff at the Brown House, his headquarters in Munich, as an aide to Deputy Führer Rudolf Hess. 

In 1936, Wagner was appointed Bavarian Minister of Education and Culture.  He raised large sums of money from bankers and businessmen to finance the House of German Art in Munich and served as the master of ceremonies at the Great German Art Exhibition in Munich in July 1937.  He had a massive stroke in June 1942 that effectively debilitated him, but he lived nearly two more years.  When he died on April 12, 1944, Hitler personally attended his lavish funeral out of respect for one of his closest old associates.  Hitler posthumously awarded him the German Order, the Nazi Partyʼs highest decoration, which Hitler regarded as his personal award.  Only 11 people ever received it—seven, including Wagner, after their deaths.

Wagner was a crude, despotic man with a wooden leg, the result of an amputation because of a severe injury during World War I, and a large dueling scar on his left cheek, which is visible in this 7" x 9½" photograph.  The photo shows the pompous Wagner, in a long coat, marching down the street with von Eberstein, his SS adjutant, an officer in a spiked helmet, and an SA officer who is mostly obscured behind von Eberstein.  The group marches before a row of SS men in black uniforms and helmets. 

The photograph is mounted on an embossed recessed mount, which Wagner has inscribed and signed beneath the photograph.  The mount, in turn, is mounted into an embossed view folder that measures 12¼" x 16¾".  The back of the folder bears a stamp with von Ebersteinʼs personal address in Tegernsee, Germany, south of Munich.  

The photo and the inscribed mount are in fine condition.  Wagner has penned and signed the piece in jet black fountain pen.  The view has some rippling and tears to the front view window.  Overall the piece is in fine condition.

We reject Nazism and all that it represented.  We offered this piece because of its historical significance and because the German Third Reich, although despised, had an undeniable effect on the course of the 20th Century.




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