Someone Bought Hitler’s Wife’s Underpants for $4,000

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Adolf Hitler und Eva Braun auf dem Berghof

(Via Wikimedia Commons)

Some people have a lot of money. Some people have unconventional hobbies and interests. When those things combine, things get weird, and you wind up with a bidding war over a pair of Eva Braun’s old panties.

According to the BBC, the underpants went on the auction block this week and were expected to sell for just $500, but instead they went for $3,600. The auctioneers just underestimated the degree to which some people wanted to get their hands on some fabric that has touched the genitals that Hitler also touched.

The auction house also had a ruby and opal ring and a monogrammed lipstick case that belonged to Eva Braun, but those did not sell for nearly as much. The panties were the big-ticket item, apparently.

Obviously, for those of us not in the Hitler-collecting scene, this raises some questions. Two big ones stand out: 1. Who wants Hitler’s wife’s old underwear? and 2. What is he going to do with them?

They’re nice underpants. They’re a pretty shade of lilac and edged with cream lace and silk ribbon. They’re embroidered with her initials. Hitler gave Eva Braun a generous allowance, which she used on fancy clothes and cosmetics and getting her hair styled every day. They’re high-quality vintage underpants and don’t look heavily used, which may or may not have decreased the value to collectors. But really, what do you do with Hitler’s wife’s underwear? Do you build a tasteful display for them and show them to guests?

“Look, Bradley, these are Hitler’s wife’s underpants! Don’t you wonder if he ever tried them on? Oh, your martini has run dry. Let’s have Andrea make you a new one.”

Do you keep them in a secret door and just look at them and not tell anybody you have them? Do you do other things to them? (Reddit is convinced that no buyer could possibly purchase these without also smelling them, but that’s Reddit and it might be projecting.) Do you wear them? Do you make your wife wear them? Is this all your wife’s weird fetish in the first place and you’re just going along with it to make her happy but secretly the whole thing makes you very uncomfortable?

Unfortunately the bidder is an anonymous private collector, so we’re just going to have to keep imagining various scenarios and relationships and inner lives for a buyer whose name we will unfortunately never know.

Of course, one can only imagine that some of the people were bidding were doing so because they liked Hitler and were fans of his work. Somehow, tragically, there are people like that in the world. (A friend of mine was once very big into WWII reenacting, and a big part of his job as a community moderator was to sniff out and ban all the actual neo-Nazis who were constantly coming to their events in search of other closet white supremacists and Nazi sympathizers, while the rest of them just wanted to carry antique guns and play war games. And of course we can’t forget Nazi Dad, who named his children Aryan Nation, Heinrich Hons, Eva Braun, and Adolf Hitler.)

In this case, it could have gone either way. The auction house isn’t grilling customers to find out why they want Eva Braun’s underpants or what they’re going to do with them or if they post anti-semitic things on Twitter.

“It is generally people fascinated with that period of history,” an auction house spokesperson said. 

People need hobbies, and this buyer certainly isn’t the only purchaser of used underwear out there. It’s a shame we don’t get to see how it will be displayed, though. Or the reactions on the faces of the people the buyer tells.

“Hey, honey! Guess what I bought today …”