The man who will be taking bids on several sketches and postcards by Adolf Hitler at a local auction later this month said he hates the Nazi dictator and all tyrants as much as anyone, but he is merely doing his job.
A combination of undated handout photographs shows four architectural sketches by Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler that will be sold in an auction in Montreal later this month. The top images show sketches of German schools, bottom left is a design for an opera house in Linz, and bottom right is a sketch for a German school monument. (Reuters/Handout)
"I understand perfectly why some people might be upset ," auctioneer Iegor de Saint Hippolyte of the Iegor-H?tel des Encans auction house told reporters.
"My own grandfather was in a concentration camp. But I'm doing it for the same reason I would sell a poster of Lenin or Trotsky. I have exactly the same feeling as they do, but it is part of history and also my job."
Jewish organizations expressed dismay last week about the July 19 and 20 auction of four architectural-type sketches and two greeting cards composed by Hitler during the 1920s and 1930s.
One of the greeting cards is a Christmas card sent by Hitler in 1935 wishing the recipient "most heartfelt good wishes" for the holiday and new year.
Max Bernard, honorary vice-president of Canadian Jewish Congress, Quebec region, said in a statement that it's "terribly disheartening to think that someone would seek to profit from the sale of those items or that others would enjoy owning them."
Saint Hippolyte denied profit was his or his auction house's primary motive.
"My mandate is to sell what people have, to get rid of what people want to get rid of, to serve the seller," he said.
If the auction house does profit from the sale, it's no different than any enterprise receiving remuneration for doing its work, he said.
"It is the first time we are selling anything 'artistic' from that period," Saint Hippolyte said. "But we have previously sold many military artifacts from that era, including to Jewish buyers."
Saint Hippolyte declined to disclose how the auction house obtained the articles up for bid, saying the seller, like all sellers dealing with his auction house, stays anonymous unless specific circumstances warrant otherwise.
Last month, a signed first-edition of Hitler's Mein Kampf was sold by Bloomsbury Auctions in London for $51,000.