In 1909, a Jewish Viennese art teacher named Emma Lowenstramm made an etching. It was of one of her students, a jobbing artist in the city, and a Russian exile playing a game of chess.

To be more specific, it was an etching of the future Fuhrer Adolf Hitler playing future leader Vladimir Lenin. The etching is signed by both.

Hitler & Lenin etching with pieces from the chess set

This may sound far-fetched. Nevertheless the etching and the chessboard supposedly depicted in the painting are to go up for auction in Shropshire with estimates of £40,000 each.

It is true that both Hitler and Lenin played chess. Lenin is supposed to have said that "Chess is the gymnasium of the mind", (though the quote may have been invented to sell Russian chessbooks).

Lenin was also travelling around Europe in 1909.

The game is supposed to have taken place in a house owned by a Jewish family, who then owned the painting until it was given to their housekeeper.

Her great-grandson spent many years looking for evidence that the painting was genuine, and it is now being put up for sale by her great-great-grandson.

Lenin expert Helen Rappaport is of the view that the painting is 'a glorious piece of fantasy'.

Such scepticism is refelected in the auction estimate of 'just' £40,000, if proved genuine the purchaser will undoubtedly have a bargain.


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