Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 4334: Items from Ernst Kaltenbrunner of the SS

Auction Date: June 24, 2022

Grouping of Items, Including a Damascus Presentation Sword, Related to Ernst Kaltenbrunner, Director of the Reich Security Main Office

Price Realized:
Estimated Price: $2,500 - $4,000

Grouping of Items, Including a Damascus Presentation Sword, Related to Ernst Kaltenbrunner, Director of the Reich Security Main Office

Manufacturer: None
Model: None
Type: Other
Gauge:
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Stock:
Item Views: 463
Item Interest: Average
Class: Other
Description:

This grouping consists of a sword, a signature and a pocket watch, the first two being attributed to Kaltenbrunner and the last to his mistress, the Countess Gisela von Westarp. An unsigned statement provided with the sword describes the item reaching market in the 1970s, when an unnamed man approached collector "Dutch" Heilman of Ohio and stated that he was an assistant prosecutor at Nuremberg and took the sword from Kaltenbrunner's personal effects. The other items come with sales records from other websites/dealers. Born and raised in Austria, Kaltenbrunner held a doctorate in law in civilian life, but as an early member of the Nazi Party in Austria (joined the party in 1930, the SS in 1931) he got himself disbarred for his pro-Nazi actions, serving jail sentences for conspiracy against the government and for smuggling information, orders and money across the Austrian/Bavarian border. After the Anschluss he would advance in rank in the SS, being one of the people responsible for establishing the Mauthausen-Gusen concentration camp, Austria's first concentration camp, as well as serving as the SS and Police Leader for Donau, Police President of Vienna, and following the assassination of Reinhardt Heydrich was made chief of the Reich Security Main Office. In these roles he would be actively involved with the planning and execution of the Holocaust, as well as being a supporter of famed SS commando Otto Skorzeny and one of the investigators of the 20 July Plot against Hitler. As the war wound down, Kaltenbrunner started to see the writing on the wall; while regarded by historians as a die-hard Hitler supporter, he decided to run for it after witnessing Hitler's final appearance outside the Fuehrerbunker as the Soviets advanced on Berlin. Kaltenbrunner spent almost a month laying low in a cabin in Austria, and when he was captured he tried to give a false name, only to be recognized and called to by his mistress Gisela during a chance encounter. As a result of Himmler's suicide, Kaltenbrunner would be the highest ranking SS man to face the music at Nuremberg, where he tried to claim that his subordinates were signing all the relevant documents and that he had no knowledge of the camps. Like many of the surviving Nazi brain trust, Kaltenbrunner was executed on 16 October 1946. The sword is 40 3/8" overall, with a 35" blade showing a deeply etched "rosebud" pattern Damascus, with "Ernst Kaltenbrunner Fuhrer der SS Standarte 37" in raised text on the right side and a presentation marking bearing Heinrich Himmler's signature on the left, as well as "(swastika) RF SS" and "SP" on the tang. The hilt is nickel finished, with a "SS" runic badge on the right side and "Kaltenbrunner SS 13039" on the left, as well as a black and silver sword knot with matching SS-themed acorn. The scabbard is wrapped in black leather with a black enamel suspension bad and nickel finished throat and tip. The signature appears to have been cut off the bottom of an official document, with an ink stamp identifying it to the SS-Oberabschnitt Donau (one of the primary offices of the SS in Austria, which Kaltenbrunner ran starting in 1938). The watch measures 1 1/8 inch across, with a silver finish, small proofs and "800" stamped inside the rear cover. The sword is very good as restored/assembled, with light handling marks overall and restoration work on the scabbard. The watch is good with mild dings and stains. Signature is good and crisp, with minimal wear.

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