Another War Criminal Heard From

In the weekly antiques column from the Saturday St. Louis Post-Dispatch, we find this war criminal:

On or about June 3, 1945, I was one of three men in the 101st Airborne Division who explored Hitler’s hideout on a mountain near Berchtesgaden, Germany. The 101st was the occupying force in that part of Germany. We climbed through an open window into the living room. Nearby was a small dining room with cupboards full of china. I took two dinner plates and mailed them home. I had the plates framed when I got home, and they have been hanging in my house ever since. The plates are white with a scalloped, gold-painted edge. The border of each is decorated with two red dragons and an abstract floral design. In the center there are two stylized red birds posed in a fighting stance. The only mark is a set of two crossed swords. Can you tell me how old the plates are and identify the maker? The design looks Chinese to me.

There are photographs showing Hitler and his cohorts using these dishes in the Eagle’s Nest hideout. The dishes were manufactured at the Meissen factory in Saxony, Germany. The pattern, known as Meissen Red Dragon, has been made since the early 1700s and was used not only by the German High Command, but also by several European royal families. Write down the story about how you came to own the plates, and be sure your family has a copy. Although no one is likely to consider your plates anything other than wartime souvenirs, you should be aware that ownership of items removed from Germany and other European countries during World War II can be legally challenged. Your plates could be worth $1,000 or more with proper documentation.

Geez, Luis, why don’t you just spare yourself the trouble and mail those plates to the German consulate? Because we all know, history will prove that Hitler was only almost as bad as George W. Bush, and that taking a couple of plates which can still be recovered and their $1000 of worth go to a good German rates more outrage than direct or indirect participation in the deaths of millions of people and burning much of Europe to the ground, because, you know, that took place a long time ago.

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