24. 08. 12. - 16:10
Hermann Goering's gold-plated pistol for sale
The gold-plated revolver handed over by Luftwaffe chief Hermann Goering to surrender himself to the allies 67 years ago is to be sold and is expected to fetch 30,000 pounds at auction.
The senior SS officer gave it to Lieutenant Jerome Shapiro while surrendering himself, after fleeing from Germany in the final days of the Third Reich, the Daily Mail reported.
Lt Shapiro, an American, apprehended Hitler's henchman as he fled through Austria in his bullet-proof Mercedes car with bags of luggage strapped to the roof.
After being held at gunpoint, the head of the Luftwaffe presented Lt Shapiro with the Walther PPK pistol along with a ceremonial dagger.
When Lt Shapiro died in the 1970s, his widow gave the pistol to a friend of her late husband living near them in Delaware, who sold it some 20 years later to a private collector.
It has now come to public light for the first time after being made available for sale at auction in the US in October.
Goering's decision to surrender came after Hitler ordered the SS to execute him for attempting to take control of the Reich as the Nazi regime collapsed.
To save himself, Goering fled through Austria towards enemy lines where he gave his gun to Lt Shapiro.
Auctioneer James Julia of Maine, US, said the gun was a highly important item of military memorabilia.
He said the pistol was gold-plated and festooned with oak leaves, which were seen as symbols of strength by the Nazis.
Goering also had on him an unloaded Smith and Wesson revolver which he is said to have asked to keep so he could present it in a formal surrender to General Eisenhower.
However, both the pistol and the ivory-handled dagger were handed over to Lt Shapiro as part of the surrender procedure in Austria.
"Lt Shapiro managed to keep hold of the gun until the end of the war and returned home with it," Julia said.
"He used to visit local schools with the pistol to show off and use to give talks about the war.
"After Lt Shapiro's death, the pistol ended up in the ownership of an army Major who lived near him in Delaware and the two became good friends. Lt Shapiro's widow gave the Major the pistol and dagger after her husband's death. He kept it for something like 20 years and sold it to a collector 10 years ago," he added.