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Hitler's copy of "Mein Kampf" up for auction

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Posted at 10:51 AM, Mar 17, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-18 06:20:30-04

Adolf Hitler’s personal copy of "Mein Kampf" is up for auction Friday at Alexander Historical Auctions in Chesapeake City, along with more than a thousand other World War II items.

The book was captured by members of an American field artillery unit attached to the 45th Infantry Division. After it was discovered, 11 officers signed the first page documenting their find: "From Adolph Hitler’s apartment in Munich on May 2, 1945."

It was kept by a soldier's daughter until only a few years ago.

"Mein Kampf," which translates to "My Struggle" in German, was Hitler's blueprint for Germany written before his rise to power.

"It's his plan for Germany moving forward after the Treaty of Versailles. It's also his plan in a nutshell for the extermination of the Jews," said Bill Panagopulos, owner and auctioneer of Alexander Historical Auctions, LLC.

Panagopulos said he understands the sensitivities surrounding the book. His father's village in Greece was destroyed by Nazi's, but he doesn't believe that's a reason to destroy history.

"Why is it important to preserve history? The good and the bad, so that we don't repeat the sins of the past. It's important that we have them and keep them in front of us," said Panagopulos.

He added that aside from the historical significance the book is generating buzz for other reasons.

"This book has generated a lot of controversy especially in light of present-day comparisons of certain political candidates with Hitler and suggestions that their political beliefs are in line with his. I'm not going to comment on that but it's surprising the number of comments we've received along those lines," he said.

This isn't the first time the auction house has sold one of Hitler's personal items.  Several years ago a ring belonging to Hitler went for more than $60,000.

Panagolpulos estimates that "Mein Kampf" could sell for $12,000 - $15,000 but he said it all depends on who bids.

The auction for the book starts around noon on Friday. Bidding will be available live, by telephone, and at invaluable.comliveauctioneers.com, and the-saleroom.com

Other personal items once owned by Hitler and being offered for sale Thursday and Friday include etched drinking glasses, engraved table silver, books from Hitler's library at the chancellery in Berlin and documents and photographs signed by Hitler.

A gathering of German U-boat documents and relics being de-accessed by the non-profit War Museum of New York will also be up for auction, plus items seized from U-249, the first German submarine to surrender directly into the hands of the Allies at World War II's end.

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