ADOLF HITLER WORLD WAR I SOLDIER'S PORTRAIT
(1889 - 1945) Fuhrer of Germany and Nazi Party leader, Hitler's bloody rise to power, his military seizure of most of Europe and North Africa and his genocidal racial policies culminated in suicide in his Berlin bunker as Russian troops approached. An incredibly rare World War I-dated signed portrait sent by Hitler while recovering from a wound to a comrade-in-arms serving in the same regiment. The Feldpost postcard depicts on the verso a chest, up portrait of a German soldier, the recipient, clean-shaven and in uniform with cap and tunic unbuttoned. The recto of the card bears Hitler's name and rank: 'Gefr[eiter]. A. Hitler] and his return address in Beelitz, just south of Potsdam. The card is addressed to a fellow soldier, one 'Gefr. Ernst Schmidt' served in the 7th Division, 16th Bavarian Reserve Regiment - the same regiment in which Hitler served. On October 5, 1916, during the Battle of the Somme, Hitler was struck in the thigh by a fragment of a grenade which exploded at the door to the dugout where he and several fellow runners had taken cover. The wound was serious, but not life-threatening. Hitler was sent to a military hospital back in the Reich, and it was no doubt from this hospital that this drawing was sent to his friend. Lightly soiled, else very good. No postal cancel is evident, having either faded or perhaps this letter was hand-carried or included in another envelope. The graphite in areas of the portrait is a bit worn, lightly toned, with some soiling. Tipped to a gray mat. Accompanied by a letter of provenance from Hitler's Munich housekeeper, ANNY WINTER, April. 5, 1967, in which she attests: '...the pencil drawing (soldier's head) comes from Adolf Hitler's personal property and was drawn by him himself. The drawing shows his friend and front-line comrade Ernst Schmidt. Both were messengers and combat orderlies in the List-Regiment and were close friends throughout the war. The portrait was created in November 1916 in Lazarett-Beelitz, where Hitler was recovering from his severe wound in October 1926. The back of the field postcard is written by Hitler himself. The drawing was given to me by Hitler along with many other things...' Authentic Hitler drawings and sketches are notoriously rare, but portraits are essentially unobtainable. Hitler was simply unable to paint or draw the human face or figure, and he likely knew that to be the case, so his works including detailed portraits are especially rare and now simply unobtainable.