Lloyd Ge­orge’s signed Hitler pic is up for auc­tion


Caernarfon Herald - - NEWS - ROD MINCHIN

A SIGNED pho­to­graph of Adolf Hitler given to for­mer Prime Min­is­ter David Lloyd Ge­orge per­son­ally by the Nazi leader is to go un­der the ham­mer.

Hitler gave Lloyd Ge­orge the picture, which is dated Septem­ber 4, 1936, when he vis­ited him at his villa in the Bavar­ian Alps at Ber­cht­es­gaden – just two weeks af­ter the in­fa­mous Berlin Olympics.

Dur­ing the 1930s Lloyd Ge­orge was re­garded as pro-Ger­man and af­ter the visit the Welsh­man de­scribed Hitler in glow­ing terms.

Lloyd Ge­orge’s visit to the Berghof has been seen as an ex­er­cise in folly and the for­mer Great War Prime Min­is­ter and Lib­eral leader painted as a self-de­luded vic­tim of Nazi pro­pa­ganda.

He had a one-to-one meet­ing with Hitler on Septem­ber 4 and the fol­low­ing af­ter­noon joined him and other guests for tea, which is where the pho­to­graph was pre­sented.

The half-length sil­ver print por­trait is in­scribed: “Mis­ter Lloyd Ge­orge, zur fre­undlichen Erin­nerung an seinen Beitrag in meinen Deutsch­land in um­sichtiger Vo­rah­nung, Adolf Hitler, Ber­cht­es­gaden den 4 /Sept. 1936.”

This trans­lates to: “Mis­ter Lloyd Ge­orge, in kind re­mem­brance of his con­tri­bu­tion to my Ger­many with cir­cum­spect pre­sen­ti­ment, Adolf Hitler, Ber­cht­es­gaden, 4th Septem­ber 1936.”

Auc­tion­eer Chris Al­bury said: “This is one of the most his­tor­i­cally charged au­to­graph items we have ever han­dled in 30 years.

“It is mind-bog­gling to us now to think that the meet­ing be­tween David Lloyd Ge­orge and Adolf Hitler ever took place at all.

“That Lloyd Ge­orge was keen to be given this signed pre­sen­ta­tion pho­to­graph of the Fuhrer to com­mem­o­rate the oc­ca­sion is even more spine-tin­gling.

“And to see and han­dle the pho­to­graph in the flesh is very eerie, the whole arc of the hor­ror of Hitler’s rise to power seem­ing to be en­cap­su­lated in this one item, with the ad­di­tional sense of dread and fore­bod­ing for the war that was com­ing.”

Mr Al­bury said that the pho­to­graph had been dis­cov­ered among the books and ef­fects of a de­ceased London book dealer.

“When I han­dled the ini­tial en­quiry I didn’t for a minute be­lieve this would turn out to be gen­uine but when I was sent a high res­o­lu­tion im­age by email, I al­most fell off my chair,” he said.

“The writ­ing was def­i­nitely ink and the hand was un­mis­tak­ably that of the dic­ta­tor him­self.

“A few weeks later with the pho­to­graph in my hands I was able to con­firm that it was in­deed au­then­tic and worth an es­ti­mated £15,000 to £20,000.

“We sus­pect that Lloyd Ge­orge’s widow dis­posed of this rather em­bar­rass­ing heir­loom when she sold all sorts of items into the London trade in the 1960s since when it seems to have been kept out of sight.”

Mr Al­bury said the meet­ing was re­mark­able be­cause of Lloyd L Ge­orge’s role in sign­ing of the Treaty of Ver­sailles and the repa­ra­tions im­posed on a de­feated Ger­many af­ter t the First World War.

“It is a won­der that the t two states­men could ever sit down to tea and cof­fee, cold ham and hard-boiled eggs to­gether,” he said.

“Lloyd Ge­orge was not a Nazi but was con­vinced t that Ger­many and Bri­tain should be al­lies and he w was clearly be­witched by H Hitler’s strong per­son­al­ity as a leader who made t things hap­pen.

“How much Hitler ad­mired Lloyd Ge­orge is more am­bigu­ous and hind­sight would sug­gest that this was a very suc­cess­ful PR ex­er­cise by Hitler with Lloyd Ge­orge sim­ply a pup­pet whose strings he pulled.

“Hitler’s slightly enig­matic in­scrip­tion on the pho­to­graph trans­lates as ‘Mr Lloyd Ge­orge, in kind re­mem­brance of his con­tri­bu­tion to my Ger­many with cir­cum­spect pre­sen­ti­ment, Adolf Hitler’.

“What ex­actly Hitler meant Lloyd Ge­orge to un­der­stand by that and what he ac­tu­ally meant by it is a mat­ter for his­to­ri­ans to dis­cuss and ar­gue about and adds to the fas­ci­na­tion of this unique item.”

The pho­to­graph will go un­der the ham­mer at Do­minic Win­ter Auc­tion­eers in Cirences­ter, Glouces­ter­shire on Novem­ber 9 with an es­ti­mated sale price of be­tween £15,000 and £20,000.

● Hitler gave this signed pho­to­graph to Welsh for­mer Prime Min­is­ter David Lloyd Ge­orge, pic­tured inset, in 1936

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