Lot 658

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An incredible find, an honor goblet presented by HERMANN GORING to German film and stage actor WERNER KRAUSS (1884-1959), an accomplished actor but notorious anti-Semite, Nazi collaborator, and most notably, a leading figure in the most anti-Semitic film of all time, 'Jud Suss'. The silver (unmarked) goblet with separate lid stands 10.75 in. tall overall with a 4 in. wide opening at top. It is fairly simple in design, bearing a ring of oak leaves at bottom supporting the body of the goblet. The sides and top of the base are deeply engraved in a Roman font: 'PREIS DER SCHORFHEIDE 1943' with two oak leaves, and 'EHRENPREIS DES REICHSMARSCHALLS DES GROSSDEUTSCHEN REICHS' ('SCHORFHEIDE PRIZE 1943' and 'HONORARY AWARD OF THE REICHSMARSHAL OF THE GREATER GERMAN REICH'). The lid bears a left-facing eagle surmounting a mobile swastika. Simple single engraved lines appear about the goblet and and text. Expected tarnish, else in fine condition. The goblet is accompanied by a detailed 1998 signed letter of provenance from a former 430th CIC officer. He was serving in St. Gilgen and interviewed Krauss at the latter's home, aware of his connection with 'Jud Suss'. It was at this time that, per occupation law, Krauss was obliged to surrender any Nazi awards or medals he possessed...which ended up in the CIC officer's hands. Also present is a 1998 letter from a prominent German militaria auction house offering to sell the goblet, a period 8pp. 4to. program for the film, naming Krauss as a cast member, and a video compact disc of the original film. The connection with Schorheide is logical - it was the location of Goring's beloved hunting lodge 'Carinhall' and the burial place of his former wife, Carin. Werner Krauss began his acting career in 1903. Committed to playing sinister characters, he became a worldwide sensation for his demonic portrayal of the titular character in Robert Wiene's film The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920). With Hitler's rise, it became clear Krauss was an unapologetic anti-Semite who supported the Nazi Party and its ideology. As Napoleon in '100 Tage' ('Campo di maggio'), a drama written co-written by Benito Mussolini, he was received by the Italian dictator and also made the acquaintance of Nazi Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels. He was appointed Vice President of the Reichskulturkammer theatre department, was designated as a Staatsschauspieler ('State Actor', i.e. an actor of national importance), and was rated by Hitler and Goebbels as a cultural ambassador of Nazi Germany. In 1940, Krauss simultaneously played the roles of six stereotypical Jewish characters – among them Rabbi Loew and Sekretar Levy – in Veit Harlan's anti-Semitic propaganda film 'Jud Suss', a huge propaganda success for Goebbels. When asked by actor/director Wolfgang Liebeneiner about the devastating effects of his performance, he replied: '...that's no concern of mine – I'm an actor!' Supposedly 'de-nazified' postwar, he returned to the stage in 1950. Incredibly, in 1954 he was awarded the Order of the Federal Republic of Germany; in 1955, he received the High Decoration of the Republic of Austria. An important historic relic.

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November 29, 2023 10:00 AM EST
Chesapeake City, MD, US

Alexander Historical Auctions LLC

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