Pretoria News - - THE X-FILES -

Vladimir Lenin was a keen chess player, es­pe­cially whilst in ex­ile be­fore the 1917 Rev­o­lu­tion. He spent many of his days play­ing at a café in Paris on the cor­ner of the Av­enue d’ Or­leans and the Place Mon­trouge. Now it has come to light that he may have played chess against a 20 year old un­suc­cess­ful Aus­trian artist named Adolph Hitler over a hun­dred years ago.

In 2009 a con­tro­ver­sial item was put up for bid­ding at an auc­tion house-a pic­ture Hitler and Lenin play­ing chess in 1909.

‘The Bri­tish auc­tion house, Mul­lock’s put an etch­ing pic­tur­ing Hitler and Lenin at a chess board up for bid­ding. The owner of the pic­ture was sure of its au­then­tic­ity. His­to­ri­ans, how­ever, were not. Ac­cord­ing to Mul­lock’s auc­tion­ing house, there are five copies of this etch­ing. The one that has been placed on of­fer has the pen­cil sig­na­tures of Hitler and Lenin on the re­v­erse. Ex­perts are only 80% sure that the sig­na­tures are orig­i­nal.

The story is that back in 1909, Adolf Hitler was a job­bing artist in Vi­enna and Lenin was in ex­ile. The house where they al­legedly played the game be­longed to a prom­i­nent Jewish fam­ily that de­parted from the Aus­tro-Hun­gar­ian cap­i­tal in the run-up to the Sec­ond World War and left a part of their prop­erty to the house­keeper. The etch­ing and the chess set pic­tured on it were among the pos­ses­sions left.

The etch­ing was al­legedly drawn from life by the fu­ture Führer’s art teacher, Emma Löwen­stramm, and is dated 1909. Now the im­age and the chess set be­long to the great-great grand­son of the house­keeper, who wants to sell the items. The un­named ven­dor as­serts that his fa­ther de­voted all his life to proving the au­then­tic­ity of the im­age. The lot is ac­com­pa­nied by a 300-page re­search doc­u­ment with, it is claimed, proof that the pa­per and the sig­na­tures are orig­i­nal. The pre­lim­i­nary price of the two items is es­ti­mated at £40,000.

Ex­perts still doubted the au­then­tic­ity of the en­grav­ing. His­to­ri­ans have no con­firmed in­for­ma­tion that Lenin and Hitler ever met at all. Nor are they sure that Lenin hap­pened to be in Vi­enna in 1909. More­over, by that time, Lenin was al­ready bald, whereas the en­grav­ing pic­tures some­body not lack­ing hair. The last ar­gu­ment, how­ever, was chal­lenged by the auc­tion­eer, who has as­serted that Lenin could have worn a wig for the sake of con­spir­acy.’ and ‘that even as an al­le­gor­i­cal pic­ture it shows these men play­ing chess pos­si­bly for the world.’

Nev­er­the­less when the etch­ing went on auc­tion it failed to at­tract any bid­ders…


Who that was present that evening does not re­mem­ber Paul Morphy’s first ap­pear­ance at the New York City Chess Club? The sec­re­tary, Mr. Fred­er­ick Per­rin, val­or­ously of­fered to be his first an­tag­o­nist, and pre­sented about the same re­sis­tance as a mos­quito to an avalanche. - Fred­er­ick Milne Edge

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