2nd floor windows from left to right: Eva Braun's bathroom; Eva Braun's sitting room; also Eva Braun's sitting room; Hitler's bathroom (thanks to NL from Axis History Forum)
Eagle's Nest photos
Eagle's Nest great hall
Wedding reception for Gretl Braun and Herman Fegelein, June 1944.
Eagle's Nest great hall
Eva Braun is on the far left, with (I think) Margarete Speer (Albert's Speer's wife) next to her.
Parking lot under the SS barracks
This GI incorrectly refers to this building as "Goring's cabin" but it's actually the Luftwaffe building. It sat right above the infamous 'Art Bunker' where Goering stored his looted artwork – although the two buildings were not connected. Thanks to - Geoff Walden of Third Reich in Ruins.
Unexploded bomb [by the horse] "on the way to Berchtesgaden from Hitler's home". Most likely dropped during the RAF bombing raid just a few weeks before.
Note the 88mm guns aimed skyward to defend the area from allied air raids. These would have seen action just six months later, when the RAF bombed the area, looking to knock out key buildings and, potentially, Hitler himself if he'd been there. Read more here.
"The cup is named in honor of Col. Robert F. Sink, the 506th’s first commander. Its base is made from wood taken from the leg of Hitler's dining table. It is a tradition for officers joining the 506th to drink from the cup as a kind of initiation ritual.
The handles of the cup are the reserve handles of a parachute used by a member of the 506th to jump into Normandy. The bowl itself is made from melted-down silverware taken from the Eagle's Nest and is decorated with Col. Sink's jump wings."
During the period, this hotel situated right behind the Berghof was commandeered by the Nazi Party and housed the Reichssicherheitsdienst (RSD) security service and SS guard battalion.
View of destroyed guard house outside the Zum Tuerken, facing downhill. See next photo for context.
"Wrecked Nazi plane at airport near Berchtesgaden. Snapped this picture from train traveling at almost 40 MPH"
Taken by Sgt. Guilford W. Condron — a railway conductor in the 735th Railway Operating Battalion, Company C. This is most likely Ainring Airfield, which was used by Hitler and other party officials when visiting the area.
A member of the 7th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division, wearing one of Martin Bormann's white summer jackets looted from his Berchtesgaden home. The jacket itself is now in a private collection somewhere.
Lt. Le Jambre's Berghof haul
After the 101st Airborne Division took over control of the Obersalzberg from the 3rd Infantry Division around May 4-5 1945, they locked the area down and visitors need written approval to enter all high-level buildings.
One such visitor was Lt. Le Jambre of 7th Army. His written authorization came from Virgil B Smith of HQ Co 327th Glider Infantry Regiment, who gave him permission to “go into the tunnel of Hitler’s house and procure a few cups, saucers and other such souvenirs available in the kitchen.”
Le Jambre’s haul comprises a silver AH-monogrammed dinner knife, luncheon knife, luncheon fork, salad fork, and dinner spoon, He also took a linen napkin with a hand-embroidered AH monogram. This checkered pattern is well documented, and matches that of the tablecloth used in the Berghof dining room.
Berghof dining room
Eagle's Nest carpet, 63rd Infantry Division
After its capture in early May 1945, the Eagle’s Nest was quickly plundered by French and US troops, eager to grab a prized souvenir of Hitler’s infamous teahouse.
By May 8, just the furniture and fittings remained.
Testament to that is this large chunk of the carpet or rug used in the main dining room – removed by a Captain in the 63rd Infantry Division.
The exact pattern of the rug is visible in period photos, even down to the tassels.
Accompanying the carpet piece is a signed letter by the veteran, along with a photo of him holding this exact piece.
“We located the Eagle’s Nest which was Adolph (sic) Hitler’s retreat. The upper level of this structure had an elevator that was not functioning due to intensive bombing.
My men and I made a precarious climb to the upper level to look around. The structure was in bad shape; partially burned and had been heavily looted before we got there. There wasn’t much worth taking except for the beautiful carpet in Hitler’s sitting room.
I cut this piece of carpet using my trench knife as I figured it would make a nice souvenir of Hitler’s Eagle’s Nest”
Interesting how he describes the Eagle’s Nest as being partially burned, as this was not the case. In fact, aside from looting, the building remained perfectly intact. While the carpet piece was certainly removed from the Eagle’s Nest, I suspect the veteran also visited the smouldering Berghof and, over the years, the memories faded into one.
AH photo with personal dedication to Hitler's aide-de-camp, Hans Junge
Hans Junge (1914-1944) was Hitler's valet and aide-de-camp from 1936 to 1943. Eager for experience away from the relative comforts of Hitler's headquarters, he volunteered for frontline service and was killed on August 13 1944 while serving with the 12th SS Panzer Division 'Hitlerjugend' by a low flying aircraft attack in Dreux, Normandy. He is buried in Champigny-Saint-André German war cemetery France, block 6, plot 1816.
"To ensure for the greatest chance of combat success,...a number of SS veterans were attached to the new HJ SS Panzergrenadier Division. A very large percentage of these experienced individuals came from the 1st SS Panzer Division, the 'Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler' (LSSAH). This is why many HJ SS Panzer Grenadier members often carried 'LSSAH cuff titles' on their uniforms in the early period."
Eva Braun was renowned for her vacations, particularly during the ski season. Here is a rare memento of her trip to the Cortina d’Ampezzo ski resort in northern Italy. I believe this was during the filming of the German movie Der Laufende Berg – which Eva Braun is known to have attended, and which feature in Reel 6 of her home movies.
We are sitting here, having coffee, after a wonderful trip. Next, we'll travel on to Venice. Warm greetings, Eva”
The postcard, which was sent to her parents’ house in Munich, is also annotated and signed by her sister, Gretl – along with Hanni Morell, the wife of Hitler’s personal physician, Theodore Morell.
Gretl Braun writes:
"The weather is beautiful, a bit cold, but we are 1224m”
Hanni Morell signs off with “Herzliche Grüße” (best wishes).
It is also signed by one other person – possibly an actor or crew member from the movie – but I have so far been unable to identify the name.
The postcard is undated but would have been around early 1940.
Eva Braun with Hanni Morell
Berghof silver cigarette box, 10th Field Artillery, 3rd Infantry Division
This AH-monogrammed silver cigarette box was removed from the Berghof by Fred O’Donnell, a member of the 10th Field Artillery attached to the 3rd Infantry Division.
Fred and his squad were among the first to arrive at Hitler’s mountain retreat. Venturing into the tunnels below, he took this cigarette box, a ‘Der Berghof’ postcard album, plus several serving platters and other souvenirs. The cigarette box and postcard album were the last pieces Fred kept, until his death in 2012.
Included in the group are several letters Fred received from prospective buyers dating back to the early 1980s, along with a period newspaper article detailing his finds.
This is the only known cigarette box of its kind produced by the Munich jewelers Heiden, who also made the Chiemsee Cauldron. I suspect this box was made in 1936, in conjunction with the Berghof’s renovation from Haus Wachenfeld. Thereafter, manufacturing of these boxes was passed to FHW.
The smoking set, including cigarette box, shown here at the Berghof.
Blotter set from Berchtesgadener Hof reception desk
Purchased (and renamed) by the Nazis in 1936, The Berchtesgadener Hof hotel housed VIPs and other dignitaries visiting the area to meet Hitler at the Berghof. The Duke and Duchess of Windsor stayed here during their tour of Germany in 1937, and other guests of note included Josef Goebbels, Heinrich Himmler and Erwin Rommel. Eva Braun also lived here before eventually moving into the Berghof.
At the end of the war, US and allied troops looted the building – and the hotel’s guest book since achieved near-mythical status after featuring in HBO’s Band of Brothers. Its whereabouts is lost to time, but this blotter set comes a close second.
It was removed from the hotel reception desk by a GI called Anthony B. Brucia from New York City. His unit is currently unknown but research is ongoing.
Along with various signatures and other ink scribbles, it is possible to decipher approximate names addresses of guests – most likely the last paying residents to ever stay there before the hotel became part of the US Armed Forces Recreation Center.
The hotel was eventually torn down in 2006.
Tablecloth from the Berghof's Great Hall - 693rd Field Artillery Battalion
The exact tablecloth shown in this photo was removed from the Berghof by a member of the 693rd Field Artillery Battalion attached to the US 3rd Infantry Division in May 1945.
To Hitler's right is Fritz Klingenberg (1912-1945) receiving his Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross in May 1941. Just behind the table you can see part of the famous picture window looking onto the Alps.
Colorized version of original photo
The original black and white Hoffmann photo
Below, the tablecloth on display at Max Show 2014
Again, the tablecloth is visible here during the famous 'Talk over the tea cups', when Neville Chamberlain visited Hitler at the Berghof in September 1938.
Photo taken November 21 1938, showing a delegation of the Belgian ambassador, Jacques Davignon. The photographer was Heinrich Hoffmann, who would have been standing with his back to the Berghof's giant picture window.
"The Belgian legation at Berlin was elevated to an Embassy on November 21, 1938, and afterward Belgian Ambassador Vicomte Jacques Davignon attended a special reception held by Hitler at Berchtesgaden. The conversation between Hitler and Davignon turned to the Czech question. Hitler explained that German relations with Czecho-Slovakia were far from settled and he enumerated the difficulties which were unresolved. Davignon was impressed with the frankness of Hitler's remarks."
The Forced War, When Peaceful Revision Failed, David L. Hoggan, 1961
WAM Show Journal - MAX XXX
Here is a video of the tablecloth, which I exhibited at the 2014 Max Show. Skip forward to 24 mins 57 secs.
The veteran, a member of the 693rd Field Artillery Battalion – who went on to serve in the military for many years after the war.
The Berghof's oversized fixtures and furniture featured in the April 1942 edition of Die Kunst Im Deutschen Reich [Art in the German Reich]. Note the large freestanding lamp in the period photo at the top of this page.
The period photos shown on this page were all taken at this table in the Berghof great hall.
On the left, Fritz Klingenberg arriving at the Berghof to receive his Knight’s Cross
Pfc Clarence Overman joined the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne late in the war and arrived in Europe just after the Battle of the Bulge.
In May 1945 he, along with his squad, was one of the first to arrive in Berchtesgaden—ex-home of the now-dead Hitler and his infamous Eagle's Nest. Clarence and his squad were selected to enter the building, where they took many pieces of AH-monogrammed silverware, including this 10.5 inch cake knife (one of only four) and a beer glass coaster (one of 36). In the background is the flyleaf of Clarence's 'Currahee' scrapbook, presented to all 506th men at the war's end.
During his time in Berchtesgaden, Clarence also visited Hitler's study inside his main residence, the Berghof, where he was interviewed by Yank Magazine. A cutting from that article appears below, plus a photo of Clarence sat on Hitler's office safe.
Clarence Overman on Veteran's Day in 2011, aged 89.
"Don't know what's in the safe," said Overman, "but I guess it's important. Say, was this where the old boy worked?" Told that it was, Overman whistled. "That's something I'll have to write home about."
Yank Magazine, July 28 1945
Compare this photo with the one above, and you can see where Clarence was sat. That circular white object is a kachelofen—a type of ceramic heater.
Silver decanter and hand-hammered stopper, from the Berghof
This silver art deco-style decanter and matching hand-hammered 925 silver stopper were removed from the Berghof in May 1945 by Sgt. Russell Dysert .
Dysert fought with the 441st Antiaircraft Artillery Battalion, attached to the 45th "Thunderbirds" Division and, later, the 3rd Infantry Division. He served in Africa, Sicily, southern Italy and all the way up to Rome - until finally reaching the Obersalzberg at the end of the war. Working in supply, he drove a jeep and received preferential treatment from officers – and was lucky enough to be one of the first to enter, and empty, the Berghof.
Ex. Dr Mark Griffith collection
Formal pattern cigar cutter, Charlie Co, 506 PIR 101st Airborne
Official records list just two cigar cutters used in the Eagle's Nest. This one was brought back by Adler Muller of Charlie Co, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division.
“Once inside [The Eagle’s Nest], we began to search for valuables. Tapping the panelled walls in the huge dining room, we found one place that had a different sound. A small strip of molding was moved to reveal a lock. Having found a string of keys in the basement, we finally opened a wall safe containing fourteen trays of Hitler’s silverware. Since each piece had the Nazi insignia on it, this qualified our find as ‘legal war booty’.
All the trays were placed on the large dining room table. The sergeant made five piles of silverware pieces until everyone agreed they were as equal as possible. Then we each chose a pile, which we carried around until we were able to mail home after officer inspection.”
These silver chalices were awarded to officers of the 506th PIR 101st Airborne Division at the end of the war.
They were originally discovered in Schloss Fischhorn, Austria, then later modified with the addition of the silver jump wings, plus a hand-engraving of the officer’s name and campaigns.
The silver used to make the over-sized jump wings allegedly came from silver coins found by Lt Ed Shames in a boxcar parked in the Landsberg area (Source: Mark Bando), plus pieces of silverware from Hitler’s Eagle’s Nest.
The underside of each chalice is marked ‘A.KLAMMER INNSBRUCK’
This business still operates today, as a small jewellery workshop.
I contacted the owner to see if he had any paperwork relating to the original manufacturer of these pieces.
His grandfather was “A.KLAMMER” (Alois Klammer). During the period 1938-1945, his grandfather made only sports trophies and silver Taufbechers, or baptism cups for infants. Unfortunately, any paperwork around these pieces has been lost to time, but it seems likely his grandfather made a batch of these Taufbechers for SS troops stationed at Schloss Fischhorn, where they were stored until liberation by 101st Airborne troops in May/June 1945.
“My father, back in 1945, was only 13 years old, but he still remembers it quite well.
Because of his memory of that time, the American military came to my grandfather in 1945 with a larger amount of German Mark coins (currency then silver) and some other larger pieces (presumably war booty).
To make such cups, as shown in the pictures, to customize. My uncle, my father's brother, drove to the Plansee plants to remelt this large amount of silver and let silverplate be made of it, it was a few kilograms, then a larger quantity of cups, according to my father's memories. 15 pcs. Made for the American military, so completely redesigned!”
From this information, one theory is that after discovering the initial batch, the 101st troops visited Alois Klammer with enough silver coins and AH silverware to make another 15 pieces, plus the jump wings – then hand engrave each one.
Little is known about the original owner of this chalice, Lt. Robert E. Rutan. According to Don Burgett’s book, Rutan fought in Operation Market Garden, where he was injured. According to an interview with Rutan in 2000, he made over 350 parachute jumps and also fought with the 82nd Airborne. What’s known for sure is that Rutan was part of A Company, and appears on a 1945 506th PIR roster as a 2nd Lt.
Photo credit: Phillip Russo
Photo credit: Phillip Russo
Hand-hammered silver candleholder
Part of the smoking set, this hand-hammered candleholder was removed from the Führerbau by Captain Donald Hobeck of the 1269th Engineer Combat Battalion. Hobeck commanded Company A for a brief time, while the unit advanced on Munich and removed this piece along with numerous other AH linen and silverware pieces.
The base of the candleholder is engraved with the classic Greek key pattern, used on the formal pattern silverware, and is maker-marked FHW (Franz Hermann Wandinger). Note too, how the feet of the candleholder match those of the cigarette box.
Four of these Leuchter were also ordered for the Eagle’s Nest, and one such example is also evident in use in the Berghof winter garden.
Not many people knew at the time that Hitler wore glasses. This perceived ‘genetic weakness’ was kept secret from the German people – and very few photographs exist of him wearing or holding his spectacles.
When selecting his optician, Hitler had to be wary of choosing someone with ample discretion – and for this he chose the Ruhnke firm of Berlin. The business was started in 1900 by Carl Ruhnke and, by the mid-thirties, was being run by his son, Fritz.
Here are the ‘Handwerkskarte’ or ‘craft cards’ for Fritz Ruhnke, dated 1936, 1944 and post-war. They were kept in the possession of his son, until he died in a plane crash some years ago, and his estate was stored away.
A pair of Hitler’s spectacles came up for auction a while back complete with their velvet-lined case, marked Optiker Ruhnke.
Meissen 'Red Dragon' from the Eagle's Nest - 290th Combat Engineers
The pieces shown here are from Hitler's Eagle's Nest tea set and were sent home by a member of the 290th Combat Engineers—one of the first units up the Kehlstein mountain in May 1945. The pattern is known as 'Red Dragon' and is manufactured by Meissen, even today.
Each piece is handpainted, and the undersides are numbered.
The steel container shown below was taken from the kitchens inside the building and used to ship some of the pieces home. One piece didn't make it intact, and was post-war repaired.
AH birthday gift from Sofie Stork, April 1932
Sofie Stork (1903-1981) was a Munich-based artist, and member of Hitler's inner circle at the Berghof. She was also a friend of Eva Braun's and gave her and Hitler several hand-painted tea sets and decorated the tiles of at least one of the Berghof's kachelofens (ceramic heaters).
In April 1932, she presented Hitler with this handpainted bowl showing Haus Wachenfeld before its later conversion and expansion into the much larger Berghof.
I don't have GI bringback information on this piece, but it was probably removed either from the stores underneath the Berghof, or the Eagle's Nest.
"With gratitude for happy hours spent in your hospitable house."
Sofie Stork, April 1932.
Sofie Stork (center) photographed here at the Berghof, alongside Gretl Braun (left) and Eva Braun (below).
An early photo of Haus Wachenfeld. Note the exact same view appears on the plate.
Sofie Stork's family owned the famous H Stork angling firm of Munich. Their 'stork' logo can still be found on fishing gear from the time. Notice how on the plate's back the same stork has been adapted to hold a swastika flag.
A packet of H Stork fishing hooks. Notice the stork logo at the bottom.
Sofie Stork, far left
Stork also created the interstitial pages for Eva Braun's home movies. This one reads "Tour to the Kehlstein" The butterflies may also be a subtle nod to Eva Braun's butterfly-shaped initials.
From the sky we lead. Berghof phone book and library book, 101st Airborne Division
Over the years, several examples of printed telephone directories used at the Berghof and Obersalzberg have surfaced, but this is believed to be the only known example in this more official style.
It came from the family of a 101st Airborne veteran who was among the first to reach the Eagle’s Nest. The veteran’s details are lost to time, but he told his family that he and his squad didn’t use the elevator up to the teahouse because they thought it was booby trapped. Besides, it was nothing for him to hike up the mountain because he was so used to doing the six mile run up and down Currahee Mountain during training.
While there, he also visited the Berghof, where he removed this telephone directory from Hitler’s bedside. Printed in April 1944, it has been updated by house staff in several places, and also holds an overprinted section, typed in an enlarged typeface to allow for Hitler’s failing eyesight.
The same veteran also brought back one of Hitler’s library books, called Vom Werden deutscher Filmkunst Der Tonfilm. This was a commercially-available publication, which people could fill with collectable cards.
At some point, the veteran marked the inside back cover with an ink stamp bearing the paratrooper motto: From the sky we lead.
“Hitler was an avid cinema-goer. He remained a film buff after becoming Chancellor, but instead of going to the cinema, he had films screened privately in the Chancellery or his retreat on the Obersalzberg.”
Hitler: Ascent 1889–1939, Volker Ulrich
The paratrooper motto ‘From the sky we lead’ was stamped in the inside back cover by the veteran.
Deutscher Hof writing set / blotter
Whenever Hitler visited Nuremberg, he stayed at the Deutscher Hof hotel.
He had a large room on the first floor and, later on, his own ‘Führer balcony’ from where he would review the various marches and parades.
Nuremberg was defended to the bitter end. After 5 days of intense house-to-house fighting, the city finally fell to the US 7th Army on April 20, 1945. Ironically, Hitler’s birthday – and just 10 days before his eventual suicide.
Here is a rare leather writing set or blotter used at the hotel. This would probably have been used by guests in the communal areas, or even on the main reception desk.
The GI’s details are sadly lost to time, but he pinned his campaign ribbons into the folder: American Campaign Medal; Purple Heart; WW2 Victory Medal with 1 battle star; and his European - African - Middle Eastern Campaign Medal, with 2 battle stars.
Salzburg, Austria, June 22, 1945
Early arrivals at Hitler’s destroyed Berghof were lucky enough to secure a piece of his prized stationery. Here is one such example, re-purposed and mailed home to the GI’s family.
Monogrammed tea napkin, Berghof, 10th Field Artillery
This is one of five plaid pattern AH-monogrammed napkins removed from the Berghof in May 1945 by a member of the 10th Field Artillery, attached to the US 3rd Infantry Division.
The veteran also took several AH-monogrammed formal pattern silverware pieces.
You can see other examples of this napkin (taken by a member of the French 2nd Armoured Division) in the video below. Skip to 26 minutes.
Full Documentary - Hitler's Deadly Mountain
Skip forward to around 26 minutes
A kachelofen is a kind of masonry-based heater used for warming interior spaces.
At least two of these heaters were used in Haus Wachenfeld and the Berghof – the shattered remains of which were salvaged by an Obersalzberg resident after the war (along with other objects), and buried in a bomb crater. There they sat for over 40 years, until their location was revealed to local historians in 1986.
Here are two tiles, from both heaters.
The green kachelofen (see left) was originally situated in the sitting room of Haus Wachenfeld, then moved to another room after its transformation into the Berghof in 1936. It is manufactured by Meissen.
The red-ish kachelofen (scroll down) was to be found in the ‘Untersberg room’ above Hitler’s office. This tile appears to be from one of the outside corner edges.
Eagle's Nest coffee table
There were eight coffee tables like this one in the Eagle's Nest — each made of walnut with a one-piece marble top. Seven were trashed in the years after the war, when the Platterhof was used as an R&R facility for visiting US army personnel. The table shown below is the last known surviving example, and is untouched since the war.
Eisenhower visited the mountain tea house in the summer of 1945. Note the coffee table behind.
Translated copy of documented and estimated expenses for the Eagle's Nest's fixtures and furniture.
Eagle's Nest informal armchair
After the war, much of the furniture used in the Eagle's Nest was transferred to the Platterhof Hotel. There it stayed for many years, with most pieces subsequently trashed or damaged beyond repair by visiting US servicemen and women who used the hotel as a recreation facility right up until the 1990s.
A few pieces were salvaged, and this is one such example. This chair and others like it were then re-covered and taken back up the mountain for use in the 1980s war movie, War and Remembrance. This armchair still has the cushions used in that movie.
Also shown below, an original Eagle's Nest armchair back cushion, re-united with an original armchair. This exact cushion was brought home by a member of the British armed forces after the war, and can be seen in period photos.
The chair is very comfortable. It's no surprise so many GIs were snapped relaxing in it.
With original cushion, removed from the Eagle's Nest by a member of the British armed forces just after the war.
Handpainted porcelain bowl, removed from the Berghof
This 10” diameter hand-painted bowl was part of a much larger set presented to Hitler at the Berghof by Admiral Miklós Horthy (1868-1957) of Hungary in 1937. The name of the pattern is VBO (“Victoria with golden rim”), named after its first customer, Queen Victoria of Great Britain.
The reverse of the bowl shows the Herend Porcelain manufacturing mark; the eagle with swastika; and an arm clutching a sheaf of corn – denoting Horthy’s coat of arms.
The bowl was removed from the Berghof by a pilot in the US airforce, who lived in Seattle.
Several other examples of this set have come to light over the years, but most were destroyed after allied troops arrived at the house in May 1945. Another example is also on permanent display at the 45th Infantry Division museum in Oklahoma.
Admiral’s Horthy’s coat of arms
Admiral Horthy’s coat of arms
Example of the same bowl, which came up for auction many years ago.
Fragment of a different piece, in the same pattern, recovered from the Berghof site post-war.
Berghof housemaid's photo album
Marianne Luginger was a housemaid at Hitler's Berghof until August 5th 1944. When she left, she was given this photo album by Eva Braun and her fellow staff members. The album shows a number of commercially-available postcards of the Berghof—along with a series of photos taken by Eva Braun showing the staff relaxing in and around the Berghof, and meeting their boss on his birthday ("geburtstag") in both 1943 and 1944.
The album also came with a small Christmas greetings card presented to Marianne, and signed 'Eva Braun'. Inside the card is a 5 Rentenmark note given to her as a gift and which she decided to keep as a souvenir.
This small porcelain dessert plate came from the GI's family back in 2013. It was taken from "Eva Braun's personal residence" – so either her Wasserburger Strasse house in Munich, or possibly the Berghof. It is handpainted, and signed on the reverse by the artist Sofie Stork—who was a friend of Hitler's and Eva Braun's.
The plate belonged to a Marine Corps veteran, Colonel Max Huel LaGrone, who worked for NATO after the war. When he left many years later, his commanding officer (who fought in Europe) gave it him as a leaving gift and the family kept it ever since.
Der Berghof postcard album, hand-inscribed by Arthur Kannenberg
These 'Der Berghof' postcard albums were given to visiting VIPs to the Berghof, and are considered rare. Each of the 12 pages contains a color postcard showing a different room of the building.
This particular album was given to an architect during his visit to the Berghof in August 1938. What makes this example extra special is that it's hand-inscribed by Hitler's butler and Berghof house manager, Arthur Kannenberg and his wife, Freda.
The grouping also includes the architect’s invite to the opening of the House of German Art on July 18 1937, and another invite to see work in progress of the buildings on the Königsplatz, on November 3 1935. The photograph of Hitler and Martin Bormann was taken by him during his stay at the Berghof.
Download a post-war interview with Kannenberg here.
Kannenberg with Hitler on the Berghof terrace
Eagle's Nest wall sconce
When allied troops arrived at the Eagle's Nest in May 1945, pretty much anything that wasn't nailed down was looted. Then, as the weeks went by, even the nailed down stuff was removed. Then the nails went too.
The decorative sconce shown below formed part of a series of 8 wall-mounted lights within the main hall of the Eagle's Nest, which can be seen in many period photos.
The sconce appears under "estimated, non-documented expenses" in History of the Eagle's Nest by Florian Beierl.
"Piece of Hitler's flag, May 4 1945" - Russell Dysert, 441st AAA
Sgt. Russell Dysert fought with the 441st Antiaircraft Artillery Battalion, attached to the 45th "Thunderbirds" Division and, later, the 3rd Infantry Division. His unit provided antiaircraft support for the 10th Field Artillery. He fought in Africa, Sicily, southern Italy and all the way up to Rome - working in supply, and driving the mail truck or jeep.
In May 1945, he was among the first to reach Hitler's Berghof, high in the mountains. Although Dysert wasn't an officer, he was allowed to join the first troops into the complex because he owned a jeep, and gave the officers rides. While there, he removed many items, including silver frames, pistols, a shotgun, silverware - plus the items shown here. These include AH marked Wellner salt and pepper shakers and a bottle of Moet Champagne from Hitler's personal supply. When I acquired this group, the bottle was still half full, but undrinkable.
Dysert was also present when Hitler's flag was torn down by 3rd Division troops. The flag was then cut up into pieces, and divided among the officers present. The flag piece is also shown below and reads "Piece of Hitler's flag, May 4 1945. Sgt. Russell Dysert."
Soldiers of the 7th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division tear down the flag from Hitler's Berghof, May 4 1945. The flag was then cut up into pieces and shared among those present.
Inscribed on the flag piece:
"Piece of Hitler's flag May 4 1945, Sgt Russell Dysert"
Gretl Braun library book
A book from the library of Gretl Braun [1915-1987], sent back to the States after the war.
The only other known Gretl Braun library book was taken by this 501st PIR 101st Airborne veteran from the Eagle's Nest. Shown below.
Other notable items removed by the same soldier – a piece of fabric from a chair in Hitler's office at the Eagles nest, and some wallpaper from the same building.
Eagle's Nest seat cushion
This seat cushion was removed from the Eagle's Nest in June 1945 by a member of the English armed forces. No two cushions had the same pattern layout—and this exact one is visible in period photos from the time, including the ones shown below. The soldiers in the background are with the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division.
Obersalzberg ausweis/ID card
SS ausweis (or work pass) granting its holder official authorization to enter restricted areas of the Obersalzberg.
Remains of one of the above SS passes, found in a bunker under the Obersalzberg.
This hand-painted tile fragment was made by the Munich artist Sofie Stork (1903-1981). Stork was a close friend of Eva Braun and a member of the Berghof's inner circle.
She was commissioned by Hitler and Braun to create numerous hand-painted items for their private residences, including chinaware, lampshades and ceramic kachelofen (heater) ties.
The tile piece was removed from the Berghof in May 1945 by Eugene Cook – a member of a forward observation unit in the 7th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division. Cook was among the first to arrive at the building.
The tile was part of one of the coffee tables used in the Berghof's Great Hall. The table was probably destroyed during the RAF bombing raid of April 25, or by the SS as they burned and destroyed many of Hitler's personal belongings before fleeing the area.
You can see the coffee table in the picture below and a glimpse of this exact tile in a close-up, also below.
Great Hall color image above after being rotated left 90 degrees.
The tile has also been converted to black and white for comparison.
Excerpt from Life with Hitler by Heike B. Gortemaker
View of other tiles in the table
Marking on the reverse. If you can help identify this mark, please let me know.
Examples of similar cherubs also painted by Sofie Stork, this time on a lampshade in the Berghof’s study.
This AH-monogrammed pillowcase was removed by a housekeeper at the Berghof, and later sold to a visitor to the area in the months after the war.
You can see her identity card below, along with photographs she took during her time there.
Honorary citizenship document - French 2nd Armoured Division
When Hitler came to power in 1933, cities, towns and villages across Germany awarded him honorary citizenship—and presented him with a document to that effect.
It's well known that Hitler stored and displayed these documents in the great hall of his mountain retreat, the Berghof.
This is one such citizenship document, given to him by the municipality of Wolfertschwenden, and removed by a soldier of the 2nd French Armoured Division from Toulouse who was among the very first to arrive in the area on May 4 1945.
It is large, measuring around 2ft long—and very high quality. At one time, this would probably have been stored in a leather book or folder, now long gone.
Source: Hitler at Home, Despina Stratigakos
Honorary citizenship certificates, including the one above, were stored in this cupboard – measuring over 15 ft long and 10ft high.
Général Leclerc, commander of the 2nd armored division, discusses with his officers on the road leading to Berchtesgaden and Hitler's eagle nest. Source
Col. Pardon D. Watson visits the Eagle's Nest
Pardon D Watson was the commander of the 44th Anti Aircraft Artillery Brigade. During his visit to the Obersalzberg, he took many photos of the Eagle's Nest and met "Hitler's elevator operator" Georg Mehr. He even had him sign the back of his map. It reads "Mehr Georg" which was a pretty common way of signing names in Germany back then.