Nazi memorabilia totaling over $683,000 (2.6 million shekels) was purchased by a single buyer at a controversial auction in Munich last week, according to a report in Bild newspaper.
Among the 50 items acquired by the mystery purchaser – who said he came from Argentina – was one of Adolf Hitler's jackets ($308,364) and silk underwear that once belonged to Hermann Göring ($3,400).
The auction was formally closed to the press following a public outcry. The Central Council of Jews in Germany last week called on the auction house, Hermann Historica, to cancel the event, saying it was “scandalous and disgusting” to make money from Nazi relics.
An undercover journalist sent by Bild reported that the auction room was filled with “young couples, elderly men, and muscular guys with shaved heads and tribal tattoos.”
The mystery buyer, who used the number 888, evoking the neo-Nazi code for "Heil Hitler," reportedly dominated the auction and outbid the other would-be purchasers on most items.
In addition to the jacket and silk undies, he also bought the brass container that held the poison Göring used to kill himself hours before his scheduled execution in 1946 in Nuremberg.
The top bidder told the Bild reporter at the auction that he came from Argentina and had bought the items for a museum. He declined to give his name.
The items on auction came from the collection of John K Lattimer, formerly a United States Army medic and medical officer during the Nuremberg trials.
German law prohibits the open display and distribution of Nazi objects, slogans and symbols, but not their purchase or ownership, for example by researchers and collectors.