Saturday 21 January 2017

Hamlet text signed by Nazi for sale

Published 21/09/2010 | 14:43

Nazi leader Herman Goering's deluxe copy of Shakespeare's Hamlet is due to go to auction later this month
Nazi leader Herman Goering's deluxe copy of Shakespeare's Hamlet is due to go to auction later this month

A deluxe copy of Shakespeare's Hamlet given to a German actor by Nazi leader Hermann Goering is expected to fetch up to £5,000 when it goes under the hammer later this month.

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The book, published in Leipzig in 1913, is said to be a "very rare" item in its own right, but also bears a signed dedication from Goering to Gustaf Grundgens.

Goering, then the head of Hitler's Luftwaffe, is believed to have given the book to Grundgens, one of Germany's most famous actors, as a present on Christmas Eve in 1934.

Translated into German, the book will be offered for sale at an auction of historical documents at Ludlow Racecourse in Shropshire on September 30.

Richard Westwood-Brookes, historical documents expert at Mullock's Auctions, cited the "sumptuous" folio as further proof of high-ranking Nazis' obsession with English culture.

Mr Westwood-Brookes said: "The bizarre thing about the Nazis is that they were, almost all of them, obsessed with England and English culture.

"A copy of Shakespeare with a dedication by one of the leading Nazis is unusual to say the least.

"This really is a remarkable copy (of the play) because Grundgens is considered to be one of the greatest German actors of all time and it also demonstrates Goering's fascination with Hamlet."

Grundgens, who died in 1963, is known to have played Hamlet in a production of the play staged in Berlin in the mid-1930s.

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