News & Articles on AH Silverware
Hitler’s Lobster Fork, The “LOOTenant” & His Sweet Heart
This was a nice little find that came out of the woodwork recently . A nice lady from Alabama emailed me and said she had a piece of silverware that looked just the same as the one’s featured on my web pages and she wanted it to go to someone who would appreciated it . She suggested that it was perhaps a pickle fork she was unsure and said it had been in her family since the end of 1945. Having come to her attention again after sorting through her mother’s personal effects after she pasted away.
So what did she have? Well it turned out to be one of the rarest of the Formal Adolf Hitler pattern pieces the lobster fork which as we may know only the serious collector has in one’s cupboard. The story of this item turns-out to be a lot nicer than the world changing disaster of the Third Reich and it’s times. The Alabama lady’s mother was given the little fork by her then officer boyfriend. I think the photos and the letters (letter example included) tell the story better than myself. An officer’s, sweetheart, his loot and the collapse of Hitler’s forces Germany May – June 1945.
The letter head is on official masthead form Munich and reads The Deputy of the Fuhrers. Perhaps those with a knowledge of government documents could help and email me which building this may have been looted from? Letter dated 19 June 1945. We know a lot of formal AH came out of the Fuhrerbau, brown house plus surrounding complex. (See 1945 attached looting investigation document focused on these buildings in Munich).
Finding Hitler’s Belongings in the Attic – The Aspic Server
About 9 years ago, soon after David Klein started collecting WW2 AH Silverware. David bought this Aspic Server from the son of a Veteran Tom Kesson who was part of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne, in the area of the Berchtesgaden and surrounding area. Master Sergeant Tom Kesson was there from April through June of 1945. David says he wish he had gotten these facts written down by the son however back then I was just beginning to get into the hobby and didn’t realize the significance it would have to an object. “The Aspic was a bring back piece that was stored in a trunk in the attic of the Veteran until he passed away and his son was going through his things and found it,” says David.
The AH Formal Pattern when it is a Forgery (The Demitasse Spoon)
The gentleman who sold me two of these spoons brought them while on holiday in South America. From the pictures he sent me they looked like what one would expect. However some of these little spoons are forgeries – so watch-out! The good news for me was that my seller was a true gentleman and was happy to return my money bar the cost of the forgeries being $100. So why did I keep them? So readers can find-out what to look for when dealing with these little forgeries. I found this one very interesting and I think you will too. This little spoon will also save you quite a bit of money. It wasn’t bad from a forgery perspective– if I didn’t have one already I would have thought it was just aged and a little damaged example of the demitasse spoon. But when you get up close the real story is there to be seen. When held up to the light. Stripes or lines in the sliver coating can be seen which is totally flat silver coat on the really example. The edge around the scoop of the spoon is much thicker and is a real giveaway. At the base of the scoop (top side)there are two edges, at the neck, that the forger just couldn’t do professionally. The Greek boarder also looks thinner in places – but as I said that could be put down to damage or a strange wear over time. On the whole a pretty good reproduction and a new buyer to the formal AH pattern could easily be fooled without access to an original. The photos show the two spoons side by side (Left being real) a good magnifying glass makes the difference here.
a readers collection
Below is one of the larger collections, I ask the owner to give readers
some background regarding how it was assembled. The Informal spoon , formal knife and fork came directly from a family
member of a sergeant in the rainbow division. It was said the items came from a hotel?
Most of the other items came from dealers and other collectors. I do have a few items I bought from Bill Shea that he obtained from a vet direct buy. The large serving spoon, and large fork/knife.
Here is a investigation into the looting of Adolf Hitler’s silverware in Munich by American soldiers when the city was taken .
This was conducted in September 1945. (It was started after Mr Polski mailed Hitler’s Silverware home to his wife and she was
Interviewed by a local newspaper) The investigation focuses on the Königsplatz and it’s group of government/ party buildings. (Brown House etc). Of special interest in this document is page 68 that details the two AH silverware patterns described by interrogated soldier. The last pages also notes what silverware pieces Mr Polski took and mailed home to his wife in America.
Part of the collection at the 45th Infantry Museum in Oklahoma City (Right hand corner AH Formal Luncheon or dinner Fork)
Here is another one found in a different museum in American
Adolf Hitler's Initials on Nazi Germany Tableware on display at Veterans Museum and Memorial Centre, San Diego, CA.
What’s happening in the market!
(Please email if you have examples of lot sales of interest for the AH Formal Pattern)
TWENTY-SEVEN PIECES OF
HITLER'S FORMAL SILVER
Sale Price Including Buyer's Premium: $28,175.00
Auction: 2009, Spring Firearms Sale, April 29th
Berman Museum of World History
The Information Board Reads:
Adolf Hitler ruled Germany from 1933 to 1945. The silver and crystal serving pieces on display were used by him during this time period. Perhaps the most unusual piece on display is the silver grape scissors used to brake small clusters of grapes from larger bunches.
Alumnus Farley Berman owns one of the world's most extensive private collections of historic weaponry : By John D. Thomas (Emory Magazine/winter97)
In addition to weapons, Berman, a retired U.S. Army colonel, also has collected many curiosities related to the military. He owns the photographs of Benito Mussolini's parents that the fascist leader kept on his bedside table, Adolph Hitler's silver service, and Napoleon's personal field service. "Napoleon probably ate off that," says Berman, pointing to one of the plates.
Invariably, people who view Berman's collection are curious about how he acquired some of these rarities. The eighty-five-year-old, however, is notoriously tight lipped. For example, when asked where and from whom he purchased Hitler's silver service, he quips, "That's a good question. Next question."
Books & Newspapers that refer to Hitler’s Silverware
The Hitler Book (Summer 1934 –February 1936) Page8
The Secret Dossier Prepared for Stalin from the Interrogations of Otto Guensche and Heinz Linge, Hitler's Closest Personal Aides.
On the ground floor was Hitler’s dining room. The tables were made from light pine, and it was furnished with silver, expensive porcelain and crystal that cost millions. The service belonged to the state and before Hitler’s accession it had been used for government receptions in Berlin.
The table silver was not only stamped with the German eagle and the swastika but also engraved with initials ‘AH’ (Adolf Hitler).
The table was decorated with golden angles holding bowls for candles.
Pete Pettus Donates Hitler's Silverware
This lot of AH cutlery was taken from
the same area of Munich that the 100 page American army investigation into
Hitler's silverware being looted was conducted. (Photo of Vet & silverware
attached with Formal & Informal silverware found in the Brown house basement
as noted in the 1945 below investigation by the American army)
This is an excellent article in regards to the collection of this particular cutlery of Formal / Informal AH
Silverware and it further documents these patterns in the Munich German government / NSDAP party group of buildings. As well as showing a contemporary reference point for these patterns being looted by these return servicemen.
Pete Pettus Donates Silverware to the Virginia Holocaust Museum by 42nd Rainbow Division--Millennium Chapter on Thursday, December 16, 2010 at 6:34am
Pete Pettus poses with his silverware at the Virginia Holocaust Museum in Richmond, VA. (Photo courtesy of Pete Pettus) In October 2010, James 'Pete' Pettus donated Hitler's silverware to the Virginia Holocaust Museum in Richmond, VA. According to Pete, the silverware is now installed in a bullet proof glass case near the Purple Heart Jewel display (Dachau, Germany resident Ludwig Stoeckl created the Purple Heart Jewel as a remembrance and a token of friendship between America and Germany).
Pete wrote the following in an email: I kept the silverware in a walnut display case for all these years and thought that I would let my son have it and then it could go to his son. However, I decided sooner or later it would disappear and so I decided to give it to the museum which has a lot of Rainbow artefacts already. I also donated a Rocking Chair Chapter Rainbow Flag that the chapter gave to me after they disbanded. It hangs beside the silverware. I became acquainted with the VA Holocaust Museum several years ago when Rose and I were visiting her daughter in Richmond. We did not know there was one there until she told us; we went there and about the second room we went in we saw a Rainbow uniform on a mannequin. Regina (Rose's daughter) went back to the desk and told the director that there was a Rainbow man there and he went with us and showed us everything. He asked if I could come back the next
day and be interviewed, which I did. We have donated many items since then. We showed the silverware several times on our trip and everyone was fascinated with it and there were many pictures taken of it.
On April 30, 1945 Troops of the 42nd "Rainbow" entered Munich. Lt. Zillmer, the Co. K, 232nd Regiment, Commander assigned several infantry squads specific targets, where it was thought there would be Nazi documents to seize and hold until further orders. My squad was assigned the "Brown Haus" named after the Brown shirts the Nazi Storm Troopers wore. I was given two jeeps and a map and my squad proceeded to the location of the building. When we arrived at the location we saw that the building was totally destroyed. We found a door leading to a cellar under the rubble and there we found the elaborate under-ground Nazi Head Quarters. We stayed in the cellar for a week awaiting further orders. During our wandering around the Nazi quarters we located a large cache of Hitler Silverware, urns, goblets, cream and sugar bowls and fine china. Not knowing that the war was going to end soon
and being used to not taking any souvenirs because we were almost always on foot. So we kept what we had to carry at a minimum, but realizing the importance of our find, I took only eight pieces of the silverware. Later after we were gone other troops came in and cleaned out the entire lot.
JAMES R. "PETE" PETTUS, 1ST SQUAD, SECOND PLATOON COMPANY K, 232ND REGIMENT, 42ND RAINBOW DIVISION
See We Get Letters below
One of the best documented lots to come to market in early 2009 was the below
From Ruptured Duck,Hubbardston, MA USA
Wow, where do I begin.
Who’d have thought that anything like this would be made available in 2009?
I was thrilled to have the opportunity to handle this “once in a lifetime”
grouping. Let me tell you more about the background…
Some collectors say “don’t buy the story, buy the item!”. Well I, for one, have never believed in that philosophy. I guess a lot of that depends on who is telling you the story. These details are directly from the mouth and the written word of a P.F.C. (name withheld at his request) from Charlie Company, 2nd Battalion, 506 Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division. These details were gathered both from a letter he wrote and a face to face conversation he had with a good friend of mine in 2006. And boy did he have a story to tell. He related that he, like most of the boys in his Queens, N.Y. neighbourhood, entered the service in March of 1943
when he turned 18. He first went to the Armour Corps at Fort Polk as part of the 8th Armour Division. He then entered training with the Army Air Corps as a pilot, but this program was cut short. He then volunteered for the Paratroopers and trained at Fort Benning in Georgia. In December of 1944, he was assigned to the 101st Division in France. They were quickly whisked off to Belgium and attached to the 506th. This is where he encountered Colonel Sink, who was standing on a jeep with a frozen dead German soldier at his feet. He proceeded to tell all these replacements that it was their job to hold the town of Bastogne at all costs. Shortly before Christmas,1944 he was assigned to “C” Company. Having survived that historical event, he then recalled April of 1945 and speeding through the Rhineland to Bavaria without opposition. When they reached Berchtesgaden and the Berghof area, he said they could see this stone structure on the top of a nearby snow-covered mountain. He related how one of the Sergeants asked for four volunteers to go to the top and secure the building. He said “my hand shot up because by then I knew it was Hitler’s Eagles Nest”.
The elevator was not
working, so it was no easy task. However, what waited for them was worth
the work! When they arrived, then encountered a few drunk French soldiers,
but otherwise had the place to themselves. He said, and I quote, “once
inside, we began to search for valuables. Tapping on the paneled walls in
the huge dining room, we found one place that had a different sound. A small
strip of molding was moved to reveal a lock. Having found a ring of keys in
the basement, we finally opened a wall safe containing fourteen trays of
Hitler’s silverware. Since each piece had the Nazi insignia on it, this
qualified our find as ‘legal war booty’.”.Having visited the Kelsteinhaus
(Eagle’s Nest was the name given to this location by the soldiers) on two
occasions, I can picture the exact area he is talking about! I believe we
might refer to it as a “butler’s pantry” where dishes and pots and pans
would be stored. However, the good stuff would be under lock and key, only
to be brought out for formal occasions. I can picture these G.I.’s
remembering the movies from the 1930’s with all the secret compartments,
hidden rooms and revolving walls! Pretty exciting stuff, considering you
have just survived months of fighting! He went on to say, and again I quote,
“All the trays were placed on the large dining room table. The Sergeant made
five piles of silverware pieces until everyone agreed they were as equal as
possible. Then we each chose a pile which we carried around until we were
able to mail it home after Officer inspection.” End quote. Each pile
contained over 100 pieces of the formal Adolf Hitler silverware.
What an incredible haul. It’s even more amazing that everything made it home, knowing that there were a lot of “sticky fingers” in between leaving the parcels off at the APO and it arriving home safe and sound to Queens, N.Y. This proud member of “The Greatest Generation” held onto these trophies for 60 years, until a greater calling occurred. This hero is a religious man and the church he attended needed funding to erect a steeple and a new cross. It was at this moment that he realized he could use these souvenirs for a very good purpose. In fact, when he decided to sell, he initially insisted that the proceeds go directly to the pastor at the church, as he did not want to handle the money. The result of all of this is that the church was able to erect the steeple and purchase a beautiful cross for the congregation.
This wonderful gesture has resulted in my being able to offer these fantastic pieces with a “bulletproof” pedigree.
If you happened to be lucky enough to purchase a piece from this phenomenal lot, you would have received the following:
The piece of silverware from this exact lot; A picture of the entire grouping laid out on a table;
The Ruptured Duck written lifetime guarantee regarding originality; A professionally prepared portfolio containing a copy of the letter written by the Veteran in 2006; A cross section of fantastic copies of pictures taken by the Veteran showing his service time, training, and actual pictures of him or his buddies literally at the Berghof and the Eagle’s Nest! So in this case, you are buying the item AND getting the real story! the piece is in choice condition with sharp, crisp details. Each piece, unless otherwise described, is deeply stamped with the quarter moon, a small crown, “800” (for the silver content) and an Imperial style looking eagle. These handsome pieces were manufactured by the firm of Bruckmann, located in Heilbronn. They have always been in high demand and with a pedigree and documentation like this, I sincerely believe they have immense historical value, as well as investment potential. In fact, the photos will not do these pieces justice but rest assured, when you hold them in your hands, you will see the beauty and feel the history!
We Get Letters
My fractionation for WWII memorabilia began when my grandfather introduced me the medal he received in the United States Air Force during WWII. The Croix De Guerre with Palms was giving to American soldiers after they liberated France from Nazi control. His stories and mementos are partly the reason why I started collecting. As a history major and a novice dealer, I am always on the hunt for rare and exotic antiques from throughout history. On my last vacation to San Juan, Puerto Rico I came across these beautiful WWII era spoons. As I ventured to some of the historical sites that Puerto Rico has to offer, I stumbled across a small hat shop in Old San Juan that sold coins. I entered the shop and spent two hours examining all the different antiques and coins the man had. I asked the man if he had any higher end item that I may be interested in buying and then he opened his safe to me. He withdrew a box which had three spoons exposing the Nazi seal and the initials AH . From examining the spoons I concluded that they were original Nazi spoons but was highly skeptical that they belonged to Hitler. I did not even pose to the gentleman the possibility of them being Hitler's spoons. I asked the man how he came across the spoons, and he told me that he got them from a Nazi sympathizer in South America. Whether they belonged to Hitler or not I figured that they would bring a nice return. As I researched I came across Matthew's web site which has a wonderful catalog of cutlery belonging to Hitler. He has been a great help in verifying my find and has worked with me to my story out. Thank you. Anthony.
Anthony is selling his collection of Third Reich official document stamps
Click on the above photo's
Hello Matthew. Thank you for your site. You posted a link to a story about Pete Pettus. I have owned an AH cigarette box since Sept 2004 and have been trying to nail down the location of the find in Germany. The Pete Petus story did it. The box was purchased at a local garage sale which had a number of items belonging to a 42nd Inf Div soldier. Pettus was in the same Co. and same regiment as my soldier. I actually sold his named helmet on ebay to a man in Paris. Up to this time I thought the 45th Inf Div got there first and got the good stuff. Now, I'm reasonably sure the "Brown Haus" basement coughed up the silver box. Thank you and nice informative site. (Name withheld) in NJ, USA.