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A painting by Adolf Hitler, which may have hung in Sigmund Freud's office, will be put up for auction in Britain next month. The starting price is 10,000 pounds.

The watercolor depicts a church and mountains, and is signed, "A. Hitler, 1910." "Sigmund Freud, Vienna," is written on the back of the painting, which led its owners to conclude that it may have hung on the wall of Freud's Vienna office, where he lived and worked until he fled to London after Germany took over Austria in 1938.

After World War Two, the painting was brought to Italy, where it was taken by an American soldier who later claimed that he was told the painting was hanging in Freud's clinic.

If the painting is indeed the work of Hitler and was on the wall of the famous psychiatrist, then the two may have known each other. Both lived in Vienna at the same time (around 1910), when Hitler was trying to make a living as a painter.

Richard Westwood-Brookes from Mullock's Specialist Auctioneers told the Telegraph yesterday, "The possibility that this watercolor once hung on the walls of Freud's consulting rooms in Vienna may seem on the face of it completely bizarre. But both men were in Vienna at the same time and we know Hitler was selling his paintings, so it is quite possible that Freud had one on the wall.

"We will never know for certain whether this was Freud's, but it raises the tantalizing prospect that the two men might have met," he said.