The installation consists
of a wooden display case in the shape of a Jewish gravestone or
Tabernacle (see footnote) in which three objects are displayed,
sealed by an acrylic cover.
object is a leather desk folder with a section of Adolph Hitler’s
clock embedded into it with the words ‘Hitler’s Berghof Berchtesgarten
The brass clock had been made specifically for Hitler and was located
in his mountain retreat residence (Berghof), in the main reception
room next to the famous picture window which could be lowered and
raised to show views of the mountains. The mountain retreat was
entirely destroyed by allied bombing in 1945 and this piece of
the clock that still exists clearly shows fire damage. Today there
is nothing visibly left of Berchtesgarten.
object is a page from a 1935 wedding guestbook that shows Hitler’s signature and
“ A friendly remembrance” and below that
the signature of his SA Adjutant Willhelm Bruckner. The guest book
was from a mediaeval monastery in Maulbronn.
object is the map that was supplied to the invading American
troops, showing the layout of Hitler’s mountain retreat
and the location of the various buildings. The printed paper
has been properly preserved by a paper conservator, whilst maintaining
its antique appearance.
Next to the main piece is a framed
display containing an sworn affadavit from 1956, by the lieutenant
who accompanied my father at Berchtesgarten, proving the genuine
provenance of the pieces. It also includes a postcard example of
Hitler's signature and a photo detail of the original clock in
situ at Berghof.
was part of the investigating team of the US war crimes unit
in Germany in 1945 and visited Berchtesgarten shortly after its
destruction by the bombing and liberation by US troops. Whilst
touring the location in the vicinity of Hitler’s
reception room, he found the piece of the brass clock. It was later
mounted into a leather folder by a captured SS officer who was
under investigation by my father and who had also been a saddler
before the war.
The signature from Maulbronn was retrieved
by my father during an investigation. The map is the actual one
he was given in 1945 during the liberation of Berchgtesgarten,
as a member of the invasion force.
were always displayed on my father’s desk in his study
during my childhood and had a deep emotional effect on me.
them in a Jewish tabernacle, the work takes on a much deeper
significance. It could pertain to the final triumphant victory
over the evil of Hitler. It could pertain to a final forgiveness
of the evil that took hold of a nation and killed at least 60 million
people. It touches on the contradictions that still exist over
what took place during the 1930’s and 40’s
and the final destruction of Hitler’s reich.
The Tabernacle (Hebrew:
mishkan,"residence" or "dwelling place"),
according to the Hebrew
Testament, was the portable dwelling
place for the divine
presence from the time of the Exodus from Egypt through
the conquering of the land of Canaan.
Built to specifications revealed byYahweh (God)
to Moses at Mount
Sinai, it accompanied the Israelites on
their wanderings in the wilderness and their conquest of the Promised
Land, and was eventually placed in the First
Temple in Jerusalem,
which superseded it as the dwelling-place of God among the Israelites.
It is not mentioned after the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians.
The fullest description of the Tabernacle describes an inner shrine
of Holies) housing the Ark and
an outer chamber (Holy
Place), with a golden
lampstand, table for showbread,
of incense. According to the 19th century "Higher Criticism" school
of Julius Wellhausen, an earlier, pre-exilic
source describes the Tabernacle as a simple tent-sanctuary.