A photo album up for auction later this month contains images of a World War I German aircraft painted with a Jewish Star of David symbol, put there in response to comments made by future top Nazi Hermann Goering.
Lt Adolf Auer, who was not Jewish, and his Jewish wingman, Willi Rosenstein, served in the Luftstreitkräfte alongside Goering, the Daily Mail reported Thursday.
According to the auction catalog, “It was said that Auer painted the Jewish Star of David on his aircraft in support of Rosenstein and to annoy his fellow aviator, Goering.”
Although many Jews served in the German army during WWI, it still appears incongruous to see a Fokker biplane with a Star of David alongside the German Iron Cross in fighter squadron Jagdstaffel 40.
Auer was quoted as saying that he would rather be saved by a Jewish pilot than die in a plane crash.
Matthew Tredwin, of C&T Auctioneers of Ashford, Kent, told the Mail, “At the time there was no anti-Jew issue in Germany, it was just Hermann Goering’s personal opinion at the time that he clearly carried with him into the Second World War.”
The catalog states, “Lt. Auer scored one victory during the war and was wounded in action when he was brought down on 28th October 1918 and taken Prisoner of War.”
Although Goering later rose to become one of Adolf Hitler’s closest advisers and the second-most-powerful Nazi during World War II, it appears he did not penalize Auer, who served during that war in the Luftwaffe, which was headed by Goering.
Goering was also the founder of the Gestapo, the secret state police.
After World War II, Goering was convicted of war crimes and crimes against humanity at the Nuremberg trials. He committed suicide by ingesting cyanide the night before he was to hang for his crimes.
The auction is to be held on March 14, 2018, and the album is expected to sell for between £500-£800 ($680-$1,100).