Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Hitler and his philatelic royalties

In an article in Die Zeit, on September 26th, 2013, German historian Volker Ullrich recalled how Adolf Hitler was "the greatest actor in Europe", as the title of the French magazine Books' translation said in February 2014.

At the moment the first volume of his biography of Hitler was published (Die Jahre des Aufstieg 1889-1939), Ullrich explained seven aspects of the Führer's double personality.

Philately is concerned by the seven and last topic, "The multimillionair ascetic", and I hope some researcher found or will find testimonies and archives still available despite the voluntary destructions in the last weeks of the Third Reich.

Sobriety and frugality was the public image, lure of money and a taste for luxury was the reality. With the last new Mercedes cars being offered at once by the builder, voluntary contributions from the biggest German industries given on a private account and the author's rights on Mein Kampf, a 1930s bestseller, Hitler could easily and loudly renounce his chancellor's income in January 1933, to get it back quietly the year after.

In 1937, because postage stamps bore his face, he could be paid "many dozen of millions [of Marks]" as royalties! Ullrich precised that the check was brought each year to Hitler himself by the Minister of Posts Wilhelm Ohnesorge - whose name is ironic too: no worries...

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