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HITLER

Millionaire buys up Hitler items to keep them away from far-right

A Lebanese businessman has decided to donate Adolf Hitler's top hat and other objects linked to the Nazi leader to an Israeli foundation in order to keep the items out of the hands of neo-fascists.

Millionaire buys up Hitler items to keep them away from far-right
Adolf Hitler's top hat. Photo: DPA

Abdallah Chatila, who has made a fortune from diamonds and real estate in Geneva, told the Matin Dimanche weekly that he had “wished to buy this objects
so that they could not be used for the purpose of neo-Nazi propaganda.

“My stance is totally apolitical and neutral,” he added

A collapsible top hat, believed to have belonged to Nazi leader Hitler sold for €50,000 at a controversial Munich-based auction on Wednesday.

READ ALSO: Hitler memorabilia auction rakes in thousands of euros despite protests

Chatila scooped up as many other Hitler-related articles as he could at the auction and has donated them to the Keren Hayesod association, an Israeli fundraising group.

European Jewish Association head, rabbi Menachem Margolin, said he was “bowled over” by the gestures from the businessman.

“In a cynical world, a real act of kindness, of generosity and solidarity,” he said in a statement Sunday.

Margolin added that Chatila had accepted an invitation to join a visit by 100 European parliamentarians to the site of the World War II Auschwitz death camp in January to receive a prize.

Nazis' crimes 'trivialized'

Wednesday's auction in Munich was organised by Hermann Historica, one of the auction houses to have picked up business in Nazi memorabilia the main houses have steered clear of.

Other items that went under the hammer on Wednesday included a silver-plated copy of Hitler's antisemitic political manifesto Mein Kampf that once belonged to senior Nazi Hermann Goering. It was sold for €130,000.

Ahead of the auction, Rabbi Margolin recalled that “it is Germany that leads Europe in the sheer volume of reported anti-Semitic incidents”, urging the German authorities to compel auction houses to divulge the names of those buying such articles and put them on a watch list.

“The Nazis' crimes are being trivialized here,” the German government's anti-Semitism commissioner Felix Klein told the Funke newspaper group following
the auction .

Many of the items belonging to top Nazi leaders were seized by US soldiers in the final days of World War II.

“Far-right and antisemitic populism is advancing throughout Europe and the world,” Margolin told the weekly paper.

Born in Beirut in 1974 into a family of Christian jewellers, Chatila is among the top 300 richest people in Switzerland. In 2012 it was estimated that he had a net worth of up to €136 million. 

He suggested that the items of Nazi memorabilia “should be burned” but added that “historians think they should be kept as part of the collective memory”.

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HITLER

Saxony police probe motorcycling ‘Hitler’

German police said they were investigating after a man dressed as Adolf Hitler rode around a weekend festival in a motorbike sidecar, although he provoked more amusement than outrage.

Saxony police probe motorcycling 'Hitler'
Front of a motorcycle. Photo: DPA

“When people dress up as Adolf Hitler, an investigation is always necessary,” a spokesman for Saxony police told news agency DPA on Monday.

The fake Führer appeared at a classic motorcycle gathering in Augustusburg, near Chemnitz, and was seen in videos of the event posted online.

He sported a toothbrush moustache and was seated in the sidecar of a bike driven by a man dressed as a 1940s-era soldier, complete with World War II-style helmet.

READ ALSO: Outrage grows over Hitler masks on sale in Prague

People are heard laughing as the pair pass by and a policeman guarding the event pulls out his phone with a smile to take photos.

The officer could now face consequences for his failure to step in.

“We would have expected our colleague to put a stop to all this without the least hesitation,” the Saxony police spokesman said.

The officer seen laughing at the impersonator was summoned for a meeting with his superiors and has “acknowledged his misconduct”, a spokesman for the local Chemnitz police told AFP on Tuesday.

Saxony premier Michael Kretschmer also condemned the Hitler pantomime.

“Dressing up as a mass murderer is more than just bad taste,” he tweeted. “This kind of behaviour is unacceptable and shouldn't be repeated.”

Around 1,800 motorcyclists and 7,500 visitors took part in the weekend classic bike festival in Saxony, a region in former communist East Germany that has made headlines for far-right and neo-Nazi activities in recent years.

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