Mein Kampf auction: Book signed by Hitler fetches £17k

Mein Kampf/Hitler Image copyright Silverwoods/Getty
Image caption The signed edition is unusual because Hitler was known to resist putting his name on documents of any kind

An "extremely rare" signed copy of Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf has been sold at auction for £17,000.

The swastika-embossed 1935 edition bears the Nazi dictator's signature on the front fly leaf.

It was presented to former BBC and Oxford Mail journalist Peter Cadogan on a visit to Munich in the late 1930s.

An unknown online bidder bought it from Silverwoods in Clitheroe, Lancashire. Auctioneer James Thompson said he thought it would fetch £2,500 at most.

The book price for the item was between £1,000 and £1,500 but it is thought to be especially rare because Hitler was known to be reluctant to sign documents or souvenirs.

Mr Thompson said he was "surprised" by the interest in the book as most people "wouldn't touch anything Nazi with a bargepole".

However, he added others believe the book should be preserved, despite Hitler's appalling reign.

"In a way, it's a way to touch a monster," he said.

Mr Thompson said he does not know who bought it but presumed it would be for a private collection.

Mein Kampf, which translates as My Struggle, was first published in 1925 and sets out Hitler's political ideology and plans for Germany.

Image copyright Silverwoods
Image caption The blue cloth-covered 1935 edition bears the Nazi dictator's signature on the front fly leaf

Journalist Mr Cadogan had been acquainted with Unity Mitford, a member of Hitler's inner circle of devotees. It was she who asked Hitler to sign the book for him.

"Hitler didn't sign books. It wasn't something he did. He did it this time on the request of Unity Mitford. You can almost see him putting his eyes to the ceiling," Mr Thompson added.

The book was sold at the request of Mr Cadogan's family.

The Rev Dr Stuart Jennings, a historian at the University of Warwick, said: "It's very interesting because it was very difficult to get Hitler to sign anything at all.

"There is nothing to connect him in writing to the final solution.

"There's an interesting social history behind how the book came to be here. After the war and the Nuremberg trials there was a great effort to destroy anything connected to the Third Reich.

"There was a concerted effort to make sure there could be nothing there for idol worship. Even Hitler's bunker was bulldozed."

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