SEATTLE (CN) – Federal officials say they have recovered a stolen gold bookmark that Eva Braun is believed to have given Adolf Hitler in 1943 to console him for the “inconvenience” of losing the Battle of Stalingrad. Customs officers say they arrested a Romanian man who was trying to sell the 18-carat bookmark that had been stolen from a Madrid auction house in 2002. The inscription reads, in part, “My Adolf, don’t worry … (the defeat) … was only an inconvenience that will not break your certainty of victory.”
Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers in Bellevue, Wash., say they arrested Christian Popescu in a Starbucks parking lot after he tried to sell the bookmark to an undercover agent for $100,000.
Popescu, 37, of Kenmore, is charged with one count of sale and possession of stolen property.
ICE officials say the family of Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel, who was executed after the Nuremberg trials, previously owned the bookmark.
ICE said that most of the items stolen from the Spanish auction house in October 2002 have been recovered, but “this is the first time in six years that the bookmark has surfaced.”
“Artifacts of historical significance are not souvenirs for illegal sale to the highest bidder,” said Leigh Winchell, the agent in charge of ICE investigations in Seattle.
If convicted, Popescu faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.