He Bought Hitler's Top Hat, and Has a Plan for It

Abdallah Chatila will donate items to Jewish group
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 25, 2019 11:47 AM CST
He Spent $660K to Keep Nazi Items Out of the Wrong Hands
A man holds a hat with the initials of Adolf Hitler prior to an auction in Grasbrunn, Germany, Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2019.   (Matthias Balk/dpa via AP)

A Swiss-based real estate mogul who was fearful of Adolf Hitler's top hat and other Nazi items falling "into the wrong hands" did something about it, reports the BBC—and it cost him a pretty penny. After reading about Jewish groups who tried and failed to prevent the auction from taking place, Lebanese-born Abdallah Chatila purchased 10 items that were auctioned in Germany Wednesday, and he tells the AP he spent roughly $660,000 to do so. Though his intention was initially to destroy the Nazi memorabilia so that neo-Nazis would be prevented from ever acquiring it, he decided instead to hand the items over to the Keren Hayesod-United Israel Appeal group, which he reached out to and made the offer.

The items—which include a silver-covered edition of Mein Kampf, Hitler's cigar box, and a typewriter his secretary used—will go directly from the auction house to the group. "I have no direct interest whatsoever, I just thought it was the right thing to do," said Chatila, who the Times of Israel reports spent $55,300 to acquire the hat. Keren Hayesod has indicated the items may end up at the Yad Vashem memorial in Israel, which owns a number of Nazi artifacts. The Hermann Historica auction house had offered 147 items with ties to Nazi Germany—among them Eva Braun's cocktail dress and wallet—and said safeguards were put in place to make sure the items went to proper buyers, among them museums and private collectors. (More Adolf Hitler stories.)

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