Skip to main content /WORLD /WORLD

Hitler's untold millions


CNN's Stephanie Halasz

BERLIN, Germany (CNN) -- A $100 million renovation of a Polish castle never used is just one of the signs of wealth displayed by Germany's wartime leader Adolf Hitler.

Hitler, who used to portray an image of frugal living as part of his Fascist philosophy in the 1930s and World War II, in fact accumulated a fortune that would make him a multibillionaire in today's terms, a new German documentary says.

The castle, which was in then Germany, had 20 million Reichsmarks spent on it rebuilding an apartment for Hitler which he never visited.

The documentary reveals how incredibly rich the dictator really was, and how he obtained his fortune.

His personal money became entwined with his party's and the state's wealth deliberately to hide how much he really was worth in monetary terms.

Much of that wealth came from the expropriation of Jewish belongings, the seizure of enemy property abroad, and slave labour -- all these were means with which the Nazis financed their megalomaniac ideas.

There was public perception at the time that money meant little to Hitler and he certainly showed few visible signs of living ostentatiously.

But he was greedy. After 1934 he did not pay any taxes.

Starting in 1937 his portrait was put on German stamps for which he is reported to have received residuals, plus a payment from the postal ministry that would be worth about $300 million today.

He also received millions of dollars from sales of his autobiography ' Mein Kampf' and party donations -- making his salary worth $500,000 in today's terms seem irrelevant.

By the time Hitler committed suicide in a Berlin bunker at the end of WWII while facing defeat he was a very rich man. But how important was this wealth?

Not very, many argue... as Hitler was foremost a mass murderer.

The historian Wolfgang Wippermann said: "What is important is that he and the regime killed more than six million Jews.

"I think this is the most important aspect and not all these details about his life."

Hitler committed genocide and unleashed war onto the world.

And, while destroying countries, cities, families, he turned himself into a rich man.




Back to the top