A multimillionaire Lebanese businessman has admitted he was the mystery buyer who purchased the personal belongings of Adolf Hitler and he says he did it to donate them to a Holocaust museum in Israel.
The Lebanese businessman Abdallah Chatila who lives in Switzerland paid 600,000 EUR (514,000 GBP) for the personal belongings of Adolf Hitler sold recently at auction after handed over from the estate of US physician John K. Lattimer.
The 45-year-old, who is based in Geneva and made his money through real estate, hotels and restaurants, purchased 10 items that were once Hitler’s personal belongings, including a top hat, letters, a typewriter, a cigarette case, and a silver framed special edition of Hitler’s book “Mein Kampf” which once belonged to Reich Marshal Hermann Goering.
Speaking to local media, he said: “I wanted to prevent these items from falling into the wrong hands. Actually, I wanted to buy them and then destroy them. I want to see that they were gone forever. But now I have decided to give them to the Jews. They suffered the most under Hitler, who was the personification of the devil. They should now be allowed to decide what happens to these things.”
He added that his design now was for the items purchased at auction “that I never wanted to touch” to be exhibited in the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum.
He said he wanted them to be “a warning to future generations.”
He added: “There should be no difference between religions, cultures and skin colour.”
They will be handed over to Israeli fundraising organisation Keren Hayesod once experts have checked their authenticity, with the businessman saying that he would like them to end up in the Yad Vashem museum in Jerusalem: “I do not want fakes to come to Yad Vashem. Once they are confirmed as genuine, I will then transfer the money over for them.”
A spokeswoman for Keren Hayesod confirmed that they would take the items, adding: “We will treat them with great care and decide with the relevant institutions what to do with them.”
News of the businessmen’s action was praised by Jewish groups including the European Jewish Association (EJA) that feared they might pass into the wrong hands.
The head of the EJA Rabbi Menachem Margolin said he was “bowled over” by the news and added: “In a cynical world… such a noble act of kindness, generosity and solidarity.”
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