Documentary reveals secrets of Hitler's $5 billion missing fortune
The Nazi leader amassed fortune from royalties, image rights and unpaid income tax.
A new British documentary exposes the secrets of Adolf Hitler's missing fortune, which is estimated to be worth more than 17.5 billion shekels ($5 billion,) the International Business Times reported Sunday.
Channel 5's "The Hunt For Hitler's Millions" reveals that the Nazi dictator squirrelled away a considerable fortune, amassed from image rights, personal appearances and his refusal to pay income tax.
If the money were ever found, one participant in the documentary says, relatives of Hitler could conceivably claim a portion – or earn a continuing wage from the Nazi's image rights.
The documentary also reveals that Hitler levied a royalty on German stamps that used his image and hid the money away in secret bank accounts.
Details about Hitler's hidden fortune were contained in a will drawn up by the dictator just before his death and discovered by Herman Rothman, a German Jew who worked with British intelligence during World War II.
Rothman, now in his 90s, discloses in the documentary how his counter-intelligence unit spotted a suspicious man dressed in civilian clothes in Berlin, shortly after Hitler took his own life.
Believing the man to be a Nazi on the run, Rothman and his team arrested him. Inside his jacket, they found Hitler's seven-page last will and testament.
The first section of the document was a manifesto blaming the Jews for starting World War II, Rothman said. The second part revealed how Hitler had attempted to hide the extent of his wealth.
"What emerges is a picture of a smart property and art investor - a shrewd manager of cash with a love of money," the documentary makers said.
"Hitler's actual tax records survive and suggest that he was a 'cash-in-hand' businessman and a serial tax evader. He owed the German taxman a small fortune when he became supreme leader in 1933."
Also appearing on the program is Dr Cris Whetton, author of a book on Hitler's finances, who said a significant proportion of the Nazi dictator's wealth was from royalties on his book, "Mein Kampf," which was given by the state for free to couples on their wedding day.
"He loved money," Whetton says in the documentary. "He just wasn't prepared to pay for it."
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