Only portraits of Hitler's parents up for auction - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Only portraits of Hitler's parents up for auction

SOLANA BEACH, CA (KSWB/CNN) - Unique portraits of Adolf Hitler's parents will be up for grabs next month in California after being missing since the end of World War II.

Craig Gottlieb, a note seller of World War II memorabilia, was asked to sell the portraits on behalf of the owners. He said they had been lost for decades.

"These pictures are not rare - they're one of a kind. They're the only two that exist," he said.

The owners of the portraits live in the city of Orange, CA, but are originally from France. They recently asked Gottlieb to help put the portraits up for auction.

"You know, when people ask me, 'How can you sell Hitler's mother and father?' I believe there's an important historical reason and an obligation to preserve them," he said.

But the major question is whether or not the pieces are authentic. Gottlieb pointed to particular brush strokes and said black and white pictures of the portraits had been taken at the time of their creation.

He said the details in the photographs match up.

"Because of the photographs of these paintings taken during the period, I could tell that they were. They matched brushstroke to brushstroke," he said.

A photograph from the Berghof showed the paintings hanging in one of Hitler's rooms.

"Hitler's mother was said to have eyes like Medusa, and when you look at these paintings, and there's more than meets the eye when you look into them. I'm not going to say they're haunted, but they're haunting," Gottlieb said.

Now that the portraits are up for auction, the second question is their value.

"Because they're one of a kind, I can only give an estimate of the true value," Gottlieb said.

He gave a rough estimate of around $100,000, but said he could easily see the price go way up.

"When it's the collector's one opportunity or the museum's one opportunity to acquire something, the sky's the limit," he said.

Gottlieb, who is a Jewish American and a former Pendleton Marine, said he had no issues with selling the portraits.

"War profiteering is selling A-47's in Rwanda. Okay, that's not this. This is representing a very important and relevant part of our human history," he said.

The auction will take place on Gottlieb's website through the first half of September.

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