We’re on the ninth day of Russia invading Ukraine. Now word comes that Australian Clive Palmer, head of the right-wing United Australian Party, just paid $15 million for Hitler’s 1939 Mercedes Benz 770K limousine. And that the previous owner is a Russian billionaire. The timing and circumstances are exceedingly bad, any way you look at it.
Called the “Großer Mercedes,” or Greatest Mercedes, it was auctioned after finding no buyers since hitting the market in 2018. It was Hitler’s parade car after France fell to the Nazis in 1940. Historic images back that claim. It has sold numerous times after its seizure in France after the war, according to The Guardian.
Is it legal to import the Hitler Mercedes-Benz?
When saw the reports alleging that Parker was the new owner, the Australian authorities began looking to stop its importation. Palmer has been swift in his denial of purchasing the car. He has gone as far as threatening legal action against anyone that makes the claim.
But he is an avid classic car collector, with plans to open a museum on the Gold Coast of Australia. That area is home to numerous amusement parks and other tourist attractions. “Artefacts from the Nazi era belong in a Holocaust museum, to educate the next generation about how words of hate can lead to violence against minority groups,” said NSW Jewish Board of Deputies chief executive Darren Bark.
The Mercedes was advertised as “the most historically significant automobile ever offered for public sale.” That specious claim is not supported by the facts. The Nazi dictator used many Mercedes Benz vehicles during his reign over Germany. Vehicles like this were meant to glamorize the Nazi regime.
Lots of reasons not to own Hitler’s Mercedes-Benz
That in itself is a good reason not to own it, or display it, but there is more. Around the time this was built, Mercedes-Benz used slave labor to build some of its cars. So if association with Hitler isn’t enough to sway potential buyers away, this last fact should slam the lid on interested bidders.
Alas, that hasn’t happened. Someone just purchased the “Großer Mercedes,” and whoever it is has kept their ownership a secret. That’s a hopeful indication it probably won’t surface soon. Parker, if he did purchase it, also purchased King Edward III’s Rolls-Royce from the same auction company.
The Simon Wiesenthal Center was to receive 10 percent of the 2018 sale price
At the time it was first offered in 2018, 10 percent of the price it would have sold for would go to the Simon Wiesenthal Center, the Jewish human rights organization in Los Angeles. It is unclear if that donation applied to this recent sale.
Of course, the other alarming side to this is that the former owner is a Russian billionaire. If the sale had slipped through before the invasion, the billionaire would have had the $15 million wired to him or her before the freeze was in place. So this adds a whole new level of despicable to an already ugly story.