MUNICH — He wore dark clothes, sported a baseball cap and would only say he was from Argentina, once home to Nazi murderers Adolf Eichmann and Josef Mengele.
The winning bidder’s name will remain a secret only known to a select circle that includes Wolfgang Hermann, co-owner of the Hermann Historica auction house, where hundreds of WWII items, once owned by mass murderers, were up for bid.
The mystery man used bid number 888.
In Germany it’s illegal to greet anyone with “Heil Hitler.” The number 88 marks “H”, the eighth letter of the alphabet, and is used by sympathizers of the Nazis in salutes.
The Press was refused auction entry, but a reporter from the German publication, Bild, managed to get inside. The room was full of “young couples, elderly men, and muscular guys with shaved heads and tattoos,” Bild said in their report.
The man from South America spent about $700,000 on Nazi items. The sale included:
- One of Adolf Hitler’s uniform jackets ($312,000)
- A set of Hermann Goering’s silken underwear ($33,000)
- Brass container that Goering used to kill himself with hydrogen cyanide
- Length of rope used to hang war criminal Julius Streicher
- X-rays and the investigation reports on Hitler’s health
- Dresses worn by Hitler’s wife Eva Braun
- Secret wiretap transcripts of the prisoners at Nuremberg
- Hitler’s dog-tax assessment form
Last week, the Central Council of Jews in Germany appealed to the auction house to cancel, saying it was “scandalous and disgusting” to promote Nazis just to make money.
German law prohibits the open display and distribution of Nazi objects, slogans and symbols, but not their purchase or ownership by researchers and collectors.
The items were formerly owned by the late US army medic Dr. John K. Lattimer, who monitored the health of Nazi war criminals on trial in Nuremberg. Media reports in Germany, described his 30-room mansion in Englewood, New Jersey as “bursting at the seams” with artifacts linked to the evil regime.
Lattimer was born in 1914 on a Michigan farm homesteaded by his family in 1865. He attended New York City public schools and graduated Columbia University at 15. He joined the US Army as a physician with advanced specialty training from Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons.
He appeared on the front page of the New York Times in uniform, leading a platoon of WWII Army nurses through an unusual set of marching exercises. To occupy themselves during the days waiting to be deployed to Europe, the young women attended performances at Radio City Music Hall, and perfected their own rendition of the Rockettes’ “March of the Toy Soldiers”, which the young nurses executed in Olive Drab on the train platform, entertaining incoming troops.
During the Normandy invasion, Lattimer dragged survivors up from Omaha Beach and patched their wounds. He established the urology service at the Army 98th Field Hospital in Munich, but it was soon discovered that he had competed in track and field with Jesse Owens at Madison Square Garden.
Dr. Lattimer was immediately assigned an airplane and pilot, so as soon as he had finished each day’s surgeries, he could fly to Kassel, Germany, where he trained for the Seventh Army Games, then referred to as the “G.I. Olympics”. He won first place in the 200-meter hurdles. His world record stood for 12 years.
During the War Crimes Trials in Nuremberg, Dr. Lattimer attended the prisoners and the staff. He was charged to keep the accused men healthy, just long enough to give them fair trials. Years later, he wrote books about his wartime service, the Kennedy assassination, Abraham Lincoln, and the geology and history of New Jersey.
Dr. Lattimer returned to New York in 1946, married Jamie Hill, and soon became Head Professor at Columbia University, Chairman of Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center’s Urology Department and President of the New York, the National and the International Urological Societies – all simultaneously.
He is credited with the cure for the previously fatal disease of Renal Tuberculosis and with establishing Pediatric Urology as a specialty. He died at 92.