A uniform displayed in the Royal Museum of the Armed Forces and Military History in the Cinquantenaire Park in Brussels did not belong to the brother-in-law of Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler, De Morgen has alleged.
The uniform is displayed as having been that of Hans Otto Georg Hermann Fegelein, who was in fact brother-in-law to Eva Braun, whom Hitler is thought to have married in the bunker in which both died in 1945.
Fegelein has been described by historians as an opportunist who used his connection to Hitler via Braun to land cushy postings, which ended when he was posted to the Bunker in 1945. He deserted from there, and was later shot for desertion.
His name is featured in one of the rants of Hitler played by Bruno Ganz in the 2004 film Der Untergang (The Downfall).
Despite Fegelein’s poor reputation, however, the Army museum was willing to pay €24,000 in 2012 for the jacket allegedly belonging to Fegelein, sold at auction in Munich by auction house Hermann Historica.
Oddly, the jacket was being sold without provenance, the documentary track-record that normally accompanies an important piece to prove it is what it claims to be.
“Without a track record, the appearance of such a piece is suspicious,” one expert told the paper. “Enormous sums of money are being made with forgeries of artefacts from the Third Reich period.”
The revelations come from statements given by a former museum employee, who maintains that the order books of the tailor mentioned in the label in the jacket make no mention of the name of Hermann Fegelein, while the order number printed in the jacket itself relates in the books to a civilian suit made in December 1945, months after the death of both Hitler and Fegelein.
A descendant of the tailor has stated that empty labels were sold at flea markets in the 1960s and 1970s.
So is the jacket that cost €24,000 a fake?
According to the whistle-blower, the museum itself believes so, but tried to stop the news getting out.
“KLM [museum] employees looked at it upon arrival in Brussels and expressed serious doubts about its authenticity,” he told the paper. Regardless, it was displayed in May 2019 as “the uniform tunic of Fegelein” without qualification.
“We await the results of an investigation,” said museum director Michel Jaupart.