BLOOD-STAINED FABRIC FROM ADOLF HITLER'S SUICIDE SOFA
An incredible relic with outstanding provenance, a 6" x 3 1/2" semi-rectangular section of fabric with one corner bearing a blood stain, removed from the sofa upon which Adolf Hitler committed suicide with a pistol shot to the head at 3:30 PM on April 30, 1945. This fabric section, part of a sightly larger piece obtained by our consignor, exactly matches the pattern of the "suicide sofa" as it appears in period photographs by LIFE photographer William Vandivert and others taken just days after Hitler's death. The swatch of fabric, bearing a 1 1/2" x 2" dark stain, was taken as a souvenir by Col. Roswell P. Rosengren (1902-?) who served as an intelligence officer under the Chief of Engineers, and on the public relations staffs of Secretary of War Henry Stimson, Chief of Staff George Marshall, and also served on Eisenhower's staff at SHAEF. His Army service continued through the Korean War, during which he was Chief of Public Information for the 8th Army. An original contemporary tag attached to the relic, undoubtedly written in Rosengren's hand, reads: "No. 39 Piece of covering of davenport in Hitler's air raid shelter - blood supposed to be Hitler's". The relic is also accompanied by the original 2001 notarized letter of provenance on his letterhead from his son, professional photographer Erik L. Rosengren. It reads, in part: "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...my father also cut two swatches of material and one piece of leather from chairs and a sofa. These and other mementos were cataloged and numbered with tags and placed under lock and key...These pieces have been in my possession since that date...". Other relics from Rosengren's collection, a leather swatch and Hitler's office safe dial, also bear tags with identical handwriting and are also offered in this sale. A Kastle-Meyer presumptive blood test was twice performed on a sample of of residue from the stain on the swatch, and both tests indicated positive for the presence of hemoglobin. Rosengren, whose biographical data can be easily researched and some of which is included, had much of his correspondence donated to the Truman Library and the Wisconsin Historical Society. A most historic relic, as no blood relics of Hitler's have ever been offered publicly - a DNA test would conclusively put to rest rumors of body doubles, flight to Argentina, and other theories of an escape from Berlin.