Middle EastNews

Lebanese Businessman Donates Hitler’s Top Hat to Israeli Group

A Lebanese businessman has donated items of Nazi memorabilia he bought at a controversial auction in Germany last week to Israeli fundraisers.

Abdallah Chatila, a diamond and real estate magnate based in  Geneva, spent about £513,000 on 10 items, including Adolf Hitler’s own top hat, cigar box, and typewriter, as well as a silver-plated edition of Hitler’s Mein Kampf.

The items were purchased at Munich-based auction house, Hermann Historica. The auction had been sharply criticised by Jewish groups.

Many of the items belonging to top Nazi leaders were seized by the US soldiers in the final days of the war.

a street sign for ‘143 Adolf Hitler Place’ is displayed for an auction at the Hermann Historica auction house in Grasbrunn near Munich, Germany.

“Far-right and anti-Semitic populism is advancing throughout Europe and the world,” Margolin told the weekly paper.

Abdallah Chatila, saidthat  he had “wished to buy these objects so that they could not be used for the purpose of neo-Nazi propaganda”.

“My stance is totally apolitical and neutral,” he said.

Chatila initially intended to destroy the items after reading objections from Jewish groups to the sale, reported The Associated Press.

But he decided instead to donate them to a Jewish organisation and reached out to the Keren Hayesod-United Israel Appeal group.

The silver-covered edition of Mein Kampf sold for €130,000 (£111,429)

His actions were praised by Jewish groups, including the European Jewish Association (EJA), which had said the auction items held little historical value and would have been bought by individuals who glorified Nazism.

Rabbi Menachem Margolin, head of the EJA, said in a statement he was “bowled over” by the gesture. “In a cynical world… such a noble act of kindness, generosity and solidarity,” he said.

He also said that Mr Chatila agreed to join a visit by 100 European parliament members to World War Two death camp Auschwitz in January, and will be presented with an award.

Mr Chatila is one of Switzerland’s 300 wealthiest people. He was born in Beirut into a family of Christian jewellers in 1974.



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