A telegraph dubbed ‘Adolf Hitler’s suicide note’ in which the Nazi leader refused to flee Berlin in order to be seen as a valiant leader just days before taking his own life is up for auction.
Hitler sent the telegraph to one of his favourite commanders, Field Marshal Ferdinand Schörner, who had urged him to flee Berlin after it was besieged. But the Nazi leader refused to leave in order to be seen as a valiant leader.
The historic memo states: “I shall remain in Berlin, so as to take part, in honourable fashion, in the decisive battle for Germany, and to set a good example to all those remaining.
“I believe that in this way I shall be rendering Germany the best service.
“For the rest of you, every effort must be made to win the struggle for Berlin. You can there help decisively, by pushing northwards as early as possible.”
The item is being auctioned by Alexander Historical Auctions in Maryland. Describing the memo, they said it was “as unique as it gets”.
Company president Bill Panagopulos said: “There is no other written evidence of Hitler declaring his intention to remain (and die) in Berlin that anyone has been able to locate.
“This is essentially Hitler’s ‘suicide note’.
“In it, he tries to portray himself as a valiant leader of his men until the end, when in actuality he shuffled into his bedroom and fired a bullet into his head.”
The items being auctioned also includes Hitler’s transcript of the letter from Schörner, pleading with him to escape.
Schörner wrote to Hitler: “I should like… to ask you, at this grave hour, to leave Berlin and to assume command… from the southern sector.
“If you fell, Germany would also. Millions of Germans await the opportunity to build up Germany once again, with you.”
On April 26, two days after Hitler sent his reply to Schörner, the Nazi leader was offered a last chance to fly out of Berlin, which he declined. He announced that he would stay in Berlin until the end.
On April 30, 1945, Hitler and his longtime partner, Eva Braun, took their own lives in his Berlin bunker. In his last will and testament, Hitler promoted Schörner to commander-in-chief of the German army.
Schörner later abandoned his post and fled to Austria, where he was arrested by American forces.
The memo will be sold in a two-day auction running on April 30 and May 1. It is expected to fetch between $60,000 to $80,000.