No Buyers for Goebbels Archive in U.S. Auction

Archive of documents belonging to Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels include love letters, articles he wrote in school and poetry.

An archive of documents belonging to Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels, including love letters, remained unsold at a U.S. auction Monday. Only one bid was made for the papers, by phone, but it was lower than the opening price of $200,000 set by the auction house.

Bill Panagopulos, president of Alexander Historical Auctions in Connecticut, told Haaretz last night that he was very disappointed that the archive did not sell. "Marilyn Monroe's skirt sold for $1.2 million, and the ruby slippers from the Wizard of Oz sold for twice what this archive would have sold for. History is so easily forgotten, especially when it is distasteful," he said.

The auction house presented Goebbels' papers as the most important collection of documents from World War II ever offered for auction, and that it could offer invaluable insights into Goebbels's mind. The papers include documents dating from before the war, among them letters from family and friends, articles he wrote in school, love letters, sketches, poetry and academic materials.

Panagopulos said he was concerned that the archive would now be broken up and sold to small collectors and dealers throughout the world. However, he said he would try to sell the archive at a lower price.

"Despite the worldwide publicity it received, the public has determined that it is worth less than a pair of shoes. Speaking as a historian, I am truly saddened," Panagopulos said.

Last year, Alexander Historical Auctions sold the journals of Josef Mengele, the "angel of death" from Auschwitz. They were purchased by an American Jew, who said he would display them around the world.