Berlin — The three anaemic watercolours showing a mountain scene, a river and a distant figure sitting beneath a tree are little different from wares on sale at flea markets the world over, except for the autograph scratched in the corner: “A Hitler”. But it is thanks to that attribution to Germany’s wartime Nazi leader, guilty of some of the worst crimes in history, that a Berlin auction house hopes a sale will net thousands of euros for the family selling them. “They are watercolours by Adolf Hitler,” said Heinz-Joachim Maeder, a spokesman for Kloss auctioneers. “In my view they have no artistic value, it’s simply adequate craftsmanship. The value of these objects and the media interest is because of the name at the bottom.”

Before the outbreak of World War 1, in which he fought, a penniless Hitler eked out a living as a jobbing painter in Munich, churning out dozens of postcards and paintings for petty cash. His earlier dream of becoming an artist was dashed when the young ...

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