Worldwide Auctioneers is selling Adolf Hitler’s 1939 Mercedes-Benz 770K Grosser Offener Tourenwagen on January 17.
This was one of five such heavily armoured, open-topped cars built for the dictator and used in parades and rallies.
Hitler rode in this open-topped car during rallies and parades
This particular example (chassis 303 305) is recorded as being in use between 1939 and 1943. Hitler is known to have been chauffeured in it during victory parades in France and eastern Europe.
At the close of the war, 303 305 was captured by the Americans.
Since then it’s had a string of interesting owners, including Ralph Engelstad - former owner of the Imperial Palace Casino and Hotel in Las Vegas and a man with what can only be described as an unhealthy interest in the Third Reich.
Nazi memorabilia occupies a strange moral space. Many find the idea that someone might profit from its sale to be utterly reprehensible, especially if the buyer is a Nazi sympathiser.
For others it’s a grey area. It represents a link to a dark period in human history that needs to be preserved and remembered. They ask: why shouldn’t it be sold?
Auctioneer Rod Egan gives his take: "We are acutely aware of the responsibility attached to presenting such an impactful piece of history for public sale.
"It is however so much more than a car – it is an artifact that continues to stand and serve as a singular piece of irreplaceable living history and as a reminder that the evil which is a part of its history must never be permitted to recur.
"Our hope is that it will be used in a setting such as a public museum or collection where it can be shown and used to continually educate generations to come."
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