Long known as Adolf Hitler's project to provide the German masses with an inexpensive car, a rare relic to designer Ferdinand Porsche--seen for the first time at auction--reveals the Volkswagen Beetle as one of the greatest symbols of Nazism.
The hand-carved wooden plaque to the famous car designer from the workers at VW’s Wolfsburg plant shows the Beetle adorned with the Nazi swastika and ablaze with rays from a rising sun. A silver presentation plaque reads: "Herr Prof. Dr. Porsche as a keepsake at Christmas 1940 from the Workforce of the Body Fabrication Site."
It is part of a huge two-day online auction from Alexander Historical Auctions of Chesapeake, Md., beginning Tuesday. The auction also includes the four-star funeral flag from World War II Gen. George S. Patton, a Christmas ornament showing Hitler's head, a swatch of bloody cloth from the sofa Hitler committed suicide on and a Japanese flag signed by war criminals awaiting trial, including Army Gen. Hideki Tojo.
Along with the VW plaque, Alexander is selling a photo showing Hitler, Porsche, and others during a visit to the plant founded in 1937 by the Nazi trade union, the German Labor Front.
VW's Tennessee plant last week rejected a unionizing effort by the United Auto Workers.
The Beetle is tied directly to Hitler, being the result of his demand for an inexpensive car. According to Alexander's description, Hitler ordered the construction of the Wolfsburg plant, where VWs are still built, and created a savings book system to help Germans save up for the car. The money was later confiscated by the Russians at the end of the war.
Porsche, more famous for cars carrying his name, designed the Beetle. He was a member of the Nazi Party and SS, and also designed many of Germany's tanks. He was held as a war criminal by the French for over 20 months.
Alexander estimated the sale price of the VW plaque at $2,000-$3,000.Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.