ADOLF HITLER, BENITO MUSSOLINI...AND A HITLER ASSASSIN!
Excessively rare photograph signed by ADOLF HITLER and BENITO MUSSOLINI, the only one we've ever seen in over thirty years of autograph sales, with a third incredible association signature and a great history as well. This 8 x 10.25 in. glossy photo shows Hitler greeting Mussolini on the airfield in Venice, June 14, 1934. Mussolini bows very slightly as he shakes Hitler's hand, as diplomat CHRISTIAN AUGUST VON HASSELL at left puts his handkerchief to his face as he watches his Fuhrer arrive. All three have signed: von Hassell signs in blue ink beneath his image, Hitler in black ink at the bottom, with Mussolini placing his signature above Hitler's head. It is particularly interesting to note that CHRISTIAN VON HASSELL (1881-1944), then German Ambassador to Italy, would later become involved in the July 20 Plot and would be sent to his death by Nazi Judge Roland Freisler. The photo bears the Venetian photographer's blind-embossed imprint in the lower margin and his ink stamp on verso. A few negligible surface wrinkles, else fine. There is an interesting back story to this piece. The photograph is accompanied by a postcard, once affixed to the verso of the photo, signed by both CHRISTIAN AUGUST VON HASSELL and his wife, ca. 1934, picturing the German Embassy in Rome. The postcard was sent to the wife of the mayor of Hamburg, Karl Krogmann, and indicates that von Hassell was able to obtain 'a signature', probably Mussolini's as his name is penned above the address in another hand. There is also a letter, 1p. 8vo., July 15, 1935, sent from the publisher of the popular newspaper 'Hamburger Fremdenblattes' to Mrs. Krogmann. He returns to the lady this photograph which he claims is 'very valuable' but declines to publish it until relations with Italy improve. He also apparently had a hand in having Mussolini sign the piece. Finally, two pieces of old tape secure a (probable) post-war typed note to the verso of the photo. Its author is unknown, but it reads as if Mrs. Krogmann cut it from a copy of a letter she intended to send to someone. It reads, in part: '...But, but what happened...Mussolini wrote in large letters his name above Hitler's head!! The audacity!... Soon after the Hamburger Fremdenblatte, Mr. Broschek personally, asked me to provide the picture for print, but it came back...' Clearly, the photo was actually declined for use because of Mussolini's 'arrogance' in signing above Hitler's head! An amazing association of names on a photo with a terrific history.