ADOLF HITLER'S PERSONAL GAULEITER EDITION OF 'MEIN KAMPF'
Magnificent giant folio 'Gauleiter edition' of Adolf Hitler's political manifesto 'Mein Kampf', taken from the Kehlsteinhaus ('Eagle's Nest') above Hitler's Berghof home at Berchtesgaden by a Dutch refugee literate in German, French and English, drafted by the U.S. Army to serve as a translator and M.P. This spectacular work measures 16 x 20.75 x 3 inches, and is handsomely printed in large German type by the Zentralverlag der NSDAP, Berlin. It bears the usual 1925-27 copyright date but was in actuality produced in only perhaps less than one hundred copies in the 1930s. The regular 'Gauleiter Edition' was given as gifts to the 44 Gauleiters and 21 Reichsleiters in Germany, Austria, and Germany's sphere of control, and also to only a tiny handful of the top administrators of the Nazi government. However, this particular volume is slightly different from those offered to the gauleiters, being of even higher quality. It is extravagantly bound in white vellum over wood boards, with pages gilded at the top, bottom, and sides. The Reichsadler and lettering on the front cover and spine are gilt-stamped, as is a pair of oak leave sprigs flanking the title on the spine, and elaborate gilt cross-hatching at the top and bottom of the spine. The title and Hitler's name on the spine are raised, and there are four raised hubs - features not seen on the standard Gauleiter Edition. There is some evidence that perhaps only five examples of this special edition were ever made. The book is held closed by two metal hasps secured by pins attached to the front cover. One of the hasp straps is partially torn, and both pins to which the straps attach are no longer affixed to the front cover, but one pin is separate and included with the volume. The vellum on both covers is in excellent condition, as are the contents, save a few negligible scuffs to the covers. This edition is identical to the copy given to Reichsfuhrer-SS Heinrich Himmler, discovered at his residence in Tegernsee, Bavaria by a cook with the 36th Infantry Division and now in the hands of the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin. It is also identical to a copy that belonged to Party Secretary Martin Bormann and sold by us for $34,375 earlier this year. Additionally, this copy is accompanied by the excessively rare original two-piece blue cover case in which the book was presented. The top cover of the case is split at the corners, and the stepped base is also worn at the corners, otherwise very good. According to a lengthy notarized letter of provenance written by the daughter of the Dutch American officer, the book was recovered from the Kehlsteinhaus by U.S. Army M.P. Gerardus P. Buhrmann (1923-1985). The daughter relates that, as mentioned above, her father was in the Dutch Underground. To evade capture, he fled the Netherlands and eventually linked-up with the U.S. Army. After he had been vetted, he was made an MP and contracted to enter liberated areas to locate Nazi collaborators and aid in de-nazification. She relates Buhrmann's recollections, which were corroborated by her husband. She states: '...In 1945 during his duties as an MP in the U.S. Army's 102 Infantry Division, in Germany, my father was given this Mein Kampf to keep, by a German caretaker at Hitler's Eagle's Nest retreat in Germany, 'I was given the order to go up to Hitler's Retreat. When I knocked on the door, a German caretaker opened it and I told him I was arresting him. He handed a large heavy box to me, and said, 'This is very valuable, take good care of it.' It took the box, very heavy, and told him, I still have to arrest you, and I did.'...My Dad with the book was stationed for a while in Gotha with the 102nd Infantry battalion...My Dad did try to sell this Mein Kampf (refer to his letters) but was worried about the history of the contents...In Germany you were not allowed to sell Nazi memorabilia and in the Netherlands you didn't make any friends either...we would not talk about it...In 1985 my husband and I brought the book in the box in the bag, with all my father's papers and letters about it, to the United States...' In 2014, this relic was sold at Gorman Auctions to our consignor. Also included is a file of approx. twenty letters written and received by MP Buhrmann from 1962 through 1966. His synopsis, also included, notes that Josef Berg, manager of publisher Franz Eher Verlag, stated that only five Gauleiter Editions were printed - we suspect that he meant five copies of this higher-quality edition. In his letters, Buhrmann seeks to establish contact with the only other known owner of a Gauleiter 'Mein Kampf', a hotel owner in Bournemouth named 'John Pearson'. He goes as far as contacting the FBI for an address, and a negative response from J. Edgar Hoover is included. He finally reaches Pearson who confirms their books are identical. In Buhrmann's Feb. 11, 1963 letter to Pearson, he writes: 'Since 1945 I have in my possession a book under the title of 'Mein Kampf'...the only one or one of a very few copies...' On Feb. 26, 1963, after hearing from Pearson, he writes: '...My book descended from the Eagle[s] Nest, at Berchtesgaden, Germany, where Hitler had his hide out up in the mountains. It is in my possession since 1945...' Other letters include arranging to visit auctioneers Sotheby's, London. Also present is a 24 x 15 in. ca. 1945-47 map showing the Berghof, bunkers, SS barracks, homes of Speer, Borman and Goring, etc. Simply the finest, rarest and most important Gauleiter Edition Mein Kampf that one could ever hope to obtain, with the never-seen blue protective case and excellent provenance and chain of ownership.