The rarest of all Nazi artifacts, blood-stained fabric from the sofa where German Führer Adolf Hitler committed suicide on April 30, 1945, as allied troops filled Berlin, is going up for auction. It is expected to bring a bid of $15,000 or more.
“It is a most historic relic, as no blood relics of Hitler's have ever been offered publicly,” said auctioneer and historian Bill Panagopulos.
His firm, Alexander Historical Auctions of Chesapeake City, Md., is one of the world's leading sellers of historical items, and has recently been the go-to source of World War II memorabilia and relics sold by top former U.S. officers who were among the first to enter Berlin at the end of the European war. The auction takes place Feb. 18-19 at www.alexautographs.com.
In this case, Panagopulos told Secrets, the blood-stained patch of fabric was cut as a souvenir by Col. Roswell P. Rosengren, an Army intelligence officer who worked for war boss Gen. Dwight Eisenhower.
The swatch measures six inches by three-and-a-half inches, and a stain one-and-a-half inches by two inches is clearly visible. Two tests have proven it to be human blood. The fabric design matches Life Magazine photos of the suicide sofa.
Included is a note written by Rosengren that reads: "No. 39 Piece of covering of davenport in Hitler's air raid shelter — blood supposed to be Hitler's."
It also comes with a letter of provenance from Rosengren’s son that reads: "My father, Col. Roswell P. Rosengren, was Gen. Eisenhower's Public Information Officer for most of the Second World War. ... A few days after Hitler's suicide my father and three senior Army officers entered Hitler's bunker within the Reichskanzlei. Dad cut a piece of blood soaked material from Hitler's davenport on which he reportedly died.”
Recent sales of Nazi items has drawn criticism, but Panagopulos encourages museums and others who will display the artifacts in public to bid, noting that they do no good to be holed up in somebody’s closet.
In addition, the blood-stained sofa cloth could help to dispel rumors that Hitler faked his death and fled, possibly to Argentina. “This unique relic may finally prove to the world that it was indeed Hitler who died in that bunker on April 30, 1945,” said Panagopulos.Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.