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Buyer spends more than €600,000 at Nazi memorabilia auction

Man tells reporter at controversial sale in Germany that he came from Argentina and bought the relics for a museum

A buyer who said he came from Argentina has spent more than 600,000 (465,000) on Nazi memorabilia, including one of Adolf Hitlers jackets, at a controversial auction in Germany, according to reports.

The mystery buyer spent 275,000 (210,000) on the jacket and 3,000 (2,320) on a set of Hermann Grings silk underwear in his purchases of more than 50 items, reported German newspaper Bild.

Using the number 888, the man reportedly dominated the auction in Munich, outbidding others on most items. Bild sent an undercover reporter to the event, which was formally closed to the press after a public outcry.

The number evokes the neo-Nazi code 88, which stands for the banned greeting Heil Hitler.

Last week, the Central Council of Jews in Germany appealed to the auction house, Hermann Historica, to cancel the event, saying it was scandalous and disgusting to make money from Nazi relics.

Bild reported that the auction room was filled with young couples, elderly men, and muscular guys with shaved heads and tribal tattoos.

The top bidder also bought the brass container that held the hydrogen cyanide that Gring, chief of the air force and founder of the Gestapo secret police, used to kill himself hours before his scheduled execution in 1946 in Nuremberg.

When the Bild reporter asked the top bidder who he was, the man reportedly replied in Spanish-accented English that he came from Argentina and had bought the items for a museum, but declined to give his name.

The items, sold in the auction titled Hitler and the Nazi grandees a look into the abyss of evil, were formerly owned by late US army medic John K Lattimer, who was general medical officer during the Nuremberg trials.

German law prohibits the open display and distribution of Nazi objects, slogans and symbols, but not their purchase or ownership, for example by researchers and collectors.

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