This piece comes from an amazing silver hoard that was sold in 2009 by Bill Shea.
A superb original piece of silverware taken from Hitler’s Eagles Nest by Adler Muller C Company soldier of the 101st Airborne Division in May 1945.
It is a ‘Führer pattern’ cake Fork, Collectors nowadays commonly refer to this Bruckmann pattern as the formal pattern.
This is the story gathered in 2009:
Some collectors say “don’t buy the story, buy the item!”. Well I, for one, have never believed in that philosophy. I guess a lot of that depends on who is telling you the story. These details are directly from the mouth and the written word of a Adler Muller from Charlie Company, 2nd Battalion, 506 Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division. These details were gathered both from a letter he wrote and a face to face conversation he had with a good friend of mine in 2006. And boy did he have a story to tell. He related that he, like most of the boys in his Queens, N.Y. neighbourhood, entered the service in March of 1943 when he turned 18. He first went to the Armour Corps at Fort Polk as part of the 8th Armour Division. He then entered training with the Army Air Corps as a pilot, but this program was cut short. He then volunteered for the Paratroopers and trained at Fort Benning in Georgia. In December of 1944, he was assigned to the 101st Division in France. They were quickly whisked off to Belgium and attached to the 506th. This is where he encountered Colonel Sink, who was standing on a jeep with a frozen dead German soldier at his feet. He proceeded to tell all these replacements that it was their job to hold the town of Bastogne at all costs. Shortly before Christmas,1944 he was assigned to “C” Company. Having survived that historical event, he then recalled April of 1945 and speeding through the Rhineland to Bavaria without opposition. When they reached Berchtesgaden and the Berghof area, he said they could see this stone structure on the top of a nearby snow-covered mountain. He related how one of the Sergeants asked for four volunteers to go to the top and secure the building. He said “my hand shot up because by then I knew it was Hitler’s Eagles Nest”.
The elevator was not working, so it was no easy task. However, what waited for them was worth the work! When they arrived, then encountered a few drunk French soldiers, but otherwise had the place to themselves. He said, and I quote, “once inside, we began to search for valuables. Tapping on the paneled 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 ring 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’.”.Having visited the Kelsteinhaus (Eagle’s Nest was the name given to this location by the soldiers) on two occasions, I can picture the exact area he is talking about! I believe we might refer to it as a “butler’s pantry” where dishes and pots and pans would be stored. However, the good stuff would be under lock and key, only to be brought out for formal occasions. I can picture these G.I.’s remembering the movies from the 1930’s with all the secret compartments, hidden rooms and revolving walls! Pretty exciting stuff, considering you have just survived months of fighting! He went on to say, and again I quote, “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 it home after Officer inspection.” End quote. Each pile contained over 100 pieces of the formal Adolf Hitler silverware.
What an incredible haul. It’s even more amazing that everything made it home, knowing that there were a lot of “sticky fingers” in between leaving the parcels off at the APO and it arriving home safe and sound to Queens, N.Y. This proud member of “The Greatest Generation” held onto these trophies for 60 years, until a greater calling occurred. This hero is a religious man and the church he attended needed funding to erect a steeple and a new cross. It was at this moment that he realized he could use these souvenirs for a very good purpose. In fact, when he decided to sell, he initially insisted that the proceeds go directly to the pastor at the church, as he did not want to handle the money. The result of all of this is that the church was able to erect the steeple and purchase a beautiful cross for the congregation.
Adler Muller passed Jan 11,2013 R.I.P