Businessman Buys Hitler's Possessions at Auction so They Can't Be Used for Nazi-Propaganda, Donates Them All to Jewish Group

A Lebanese businessman who purchased a number of items belonging to Adolf Hitler at auction plans to hand them over to a Jewish group to stop them ending up in the hands of the far-right.

Abdallah Chatila, who runs a multimillion-dollar diamond business in Geneva, Switzerland, is reported to have spent more than €500,000 ($550,000) on the items at an auction in Munich, Germany.

The lot included a top hat worn by Hitler, as well as a cigar box, typewriter, and a silver-plated copy of his book Mein Kampf, reports Le Matin Dimanche.

"Far-right populism and anti-Semitism are spreading all over Europe and the world, I did not want these objects to fall into the wrong hands and to be used by people with dishonest intentions", Chatila told the Swiss newspaper.

After purchasing the item, Chatila said he will now be donating them to the Keren Hayesod association, an Israeli fundraising group, with the hope they end up in a museum, after having originally wished they were "burned."

According to Deutsche Welle, Chatila paid around €50,000 for the top hat which was found in Hitler's home in the 1930s, and a further €130,000 on the special edition of Mein Kampf. Chatila said he wanted to purchase more of the items, but was outbid during the auction at Hermann Historica.

Rabbi Menachem Margolin, head of the European Jewish Association, criticized the auctioning of the items as it is Germany which "leads Europe in the sheer volume of reported anti-Semitic incidents." Margolin also urged German authorities to place anyone who purchased such items valued by the far-right on a watch list, reports AFP.

In a statement after it was confirmed Hitler's possessions will be donated to the Keren Hayesod, the European Jewish Association said: "You see us calling for action from time to time. Asking you to get involved, to help us change what is wrong and bring light in to our lives.

"It's easy to think that one voice will not change anything but this is the best example of how it actually does!

"Thank you Mr. Abdallah Chatila for doing the right and noble thing. Thank you all of you out there that took the time to write, speak and bring the issue to the public. Your thoughts and voices matters."

According to The Local, Chatila is among the top 300 richest people in Switzerland having moved there from his native Lebanon decades ago. He was estimated to have a net worth of around €136 million in 2012.

Last week, Austria's interior ministry announced that Hitler's birthplace in the small Austrian town of Braunau am Inn will be turned into a police station to stop it becoming a shrine for neo-Nazis.

"The house's future usage by the police should set a clear signal that this building will never be a place to commemorate Nazism," the interior minister, Wolfgang Peschorn, said in a statement.

Circa 1936: Adolf Hitler making a speech. A businessman has purchased items including Hitler’s top hat at auction to keep them out of the hands of neo-Nazis. Keystone/Getty