Fall Auction 2018 Sale 73
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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 11/13/2018
An absolutely stunning and shocking signed photograph, a famous Heinrich Hoffmann image of Hitler smiling and warmly embracing a young Jewish girl, inscribed by him in dark blue ink: “The dear and [considerate?] Rosa Nienau Adolf Hitler Munich, the 16th June 1933”. The 11 ¾” x 9 ½” photo, mounted to 16” x 13 ½”, bears Hoffman’s studio name in the plate at lower-left. The original glassine protective cover is present, and as is the 16 ¾” x 14 ½” blind-embossed Hoffmann Studio envelope addressed to Nienau’s mother Karoline in Munich. The photograph shows Hitler and Nienau, then about five or six, at the Berghof and both celebrating their common birthday of April 20th. Hoffmann took a number of photos that day showing Hitler with the young girl, and they became favorites of Hitler, Hoffmann, and the German public. This signed photograph has been further embellished with the addition of nine edelweiss flowers and a four-leaf clover which were applied to the photo by the young girl. There appears a small bit of foxing to the top of the mount, otherwise the image is in fine condition. ROSA BERNILE NIENAU (1926–1943), called “Bernile” and “Rosa” by Hitler, became known as "the Führer's child" or “sweetheart” because of her close contact with Adolf Hitler. Soon after their introduction, it was discovered that the girl was one-quarter Jewish, yet Hitler refused to sever his relationship with her until years later. An only child, Bernile’s father, physician Bernhard Nienau (1887-1926) died shortly before she was born. Her mother Karoline (b. Helwig) (1892-1962) was a nurse and moved to Munich around 1928 along with her mother, Ida Voit, who widowed or divorced Helwig, b. Morgenstern (1867-1942). Thus, young Bernile was one-quarter Jewish, and therefore “Jewish” under German racial laws. In the spring of 1933, Bernile joined a group of visitors celebrating Hitler’s birthday at the Obersalzberg and she was chosen to have a personal visit with the Fuhrer, probably because of their identical birthdays. She quickly developed a close and warm friendship with her “Uncle Hitler” which lasted until 1938. Indeed, the Bundesarchive retains 17 letters from her to Hitler and aide Wilhelm Bruckner between 1935 and 1938. Research shows that even early on, Hitler became aware of the girl’s Jewish heritage but chose to ignore it, either for personal or propaganda reasons. However, when Reichminister Martin Bormann discovered her lack of “pure" German blood, he forbade mother and daughter access to the Berghof. Photographer Heinrich Hoffmann also complained that Bormann had forbidden him to continue to publish photos showing the leader with "his child". In the book “Hitler, As I Saw Him”, Hoffmann tells us that Hitler is said to have overruled Bormann, complaining: "There are people who have a true talent for spoiling my every joy." Despite Hoffman’s continued use of Nienau’s images in his books and publications, by May, 1938 the family was ordered to cease contact with upper party members, including Hitler. Bernile, who learned the profession of a technical draftsman, died on October 5, 1943 at the age of 17 in Schwabing Hospital of spinal polio. ALSO INCLUDED: Photographer Heinrich Hoffmann’s memoir: “Hitler Was My Friend” (London: Burke Publishing Co.), 1955. First edition, 256pp. 8vo., in red cloth with black titles, slightly-torn dust jacket. On page 153 appears a photograph of Hitler at the Berghof on his birthday strolling with Nienau before a large, celebratory crowd. Hoffmann captioned the photo: “Hitler’s Sweetheart – it delighted him to see her at the Berghof until some busybody found she was not of pure Aryan descent.” ALSO INCLUDED: A period Hoffmann photo postcard, 3 ½” x 5 ½”, bears the same image as the signed image sold here.
Current Bidding (Reserve Has Been Met)
Minimum Bid: $3,750.00
Final prices include buyers premium: $11,520.00
Estimate: $7,500 - $10,000
Auction closed on Wednesday, November 14, 2018.
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