SOLD,SOLD,SOLD A very fine architectural relic of the Berghof, Adolf Hitler’s retreat at the Obersalzburg, a broken off piece of ceramic tile, 5 x 6 cm, glazed forest green and decorated with an indented circular design. These tiles were originally installed on the exterior of a “kachelhofen” (“tile stove”) located in the living room of “Haus Wachenfeld”, the holiday chalet first rented by Hitler in 1928, which he purchased in 1933 and expanded from 1935-38.
The tile was excavated in 1986 by Berchtesgaden resident Florian Beierl, and a copy of his letter of provenance accompanies the piece, in part: “I was 15 years old in 1986, when an antique dealer from Berchtesgaden told me about a bomb crater in a wooded area about a quarter mile below Hitler’s Berghof at Obersalzberg, which in 1945 had been used by a group of local farmers to hide objects taken from the bombed out ruins of Hitler’s home… One of the persons involved, ‘Spornhof Kathl’ (Katharina Guggenbichler) had shown the site to the antique dealer in 1985… After the antique dealer felt that he had exploited the site to a satisfactory extent, he told me about it and I started digging there with two friends… Finally, after days, under a damaged bitumen tarp we found about 100 pieces of Hitler’s crystal chandelier, pieces of two Japanse Vases [sic] original Fabric, chinaware, an old clock, broken crystal bowls and the remains of what the woman said were three of Hitler’s ceramic tile stoves (in German ‘Kachelofen’) from Haus Wachenfeld which was later called ‘Berghof’… We sold the chandelier and the other items in 1987/88 to collectors in the United States, except for the ceramic tiles and other smaller objects which were of no interest to collectors at the time. I have kept these archaeological objects in my personal possession since 1986…”
Further provenance is provided by a period postcard, presenting a colorized photo by Hitler’s personal photographer, Heinrich Hoffman, showing the living room in “Haus Wachenfeld”, shortly after its purchase by Hitler in 1933. A “kachelhofen” covered with tiles identical to the example presented here is visible at the right side of the image. It is not known whether this stove remained in the Berghof following its expansion, but we have located a post-renovation photograph showing a “kachelofen” in the “Untersberg Room” above Hitler’s office utilized by Rudolf Hess, decorated with tiles glazed in brown but otherwise identical to the example presented here.
This piece of tile shows some chips and scratches to the glaze commensurate with its excavated state. A fine Third Reich relic, with better period documentation and provenance than usually seen.