The imposing Berlin Olympic Stadium home of the 1936 ‘Nazi’ Olympics – was the setting for the 1978 World Swimming Championships.
I was there as part of the international PR team for Arena Swimwear, a division of Adidas.
Strolling around the Olympic complex one could not help but think back to 1936 and the black and white newsreels showing Adolf Hitler blandly declaring the Games of the XI Olympiad open.
I explored every part of the stadium and came across the VIP podium – the very spot where the German dictator had opened the Games.
Behind the podium was a room which had been Hitler’s VIP lounge. The door was open so I decided to take a look. It was cold and empty. A door in the corner led to a bathroom which housed what I thought must have been the Fuhrer’s personal CR.
I’ll never know if Adolf ever did relieve himself there, but I assumed he did. So, with a sense of history and for the fun of it, I decided I should do the same.
I’d forgotten about this little episode until I read recently that Hitler’s CR from his private yacht, Aviso Grille, is alive and well and until a year ago was still flushing in a New Jersey junkyard.
After the war, the US Government decided to scrap Hitler’s luxury vessel, then one of the biggest private yachts in the world. The Americans didn’t want it to end up as some kind of memorial to the hateful regime.
Broken up as scrap in New Jersey, various pieces were offered for sale to local residents. The CR was bought by Sam Carlani, who wanted it for a bathroom he was building in his auto repair shop. That was in 1952. It’s been there ever since.
Since it stopped working, Greg Kohfeldt, who bought the shop when Carlani died, has put it on display, but he’s thinking of getting it
repaired and reinstalled in the CR. ‘It was more of a tourist attraction when it was working,’ he said.
This is not the first Hitler toilet trophy to turn up around the world.
The first Hitler CR relic to make news came in 1969 when Guy Harris, a former British fighter pilot, offered to sell a toilet seat which he said he removed from Hitler’s private quarters in the famous Fuhrerbunker where he and his wife, Eva Braun, committed suicide in 1945.
“The bunker was in the Russian sector and they had filch just about everything else, so I hit on the idea of taking the toilet seat as a souvenir,” he said. There is no record as to whether he ever sold the seat.
It’s also rumored that American comedian Bob Hope was the proud owner of a Hitler toilet curio.
Shortly after the Germans surrendered, Hope, accompanied by a US colonel, was given a tour of the Fuhrerbunker. The two men brought American cigarettes to bribe the Russian guards. Hope walked away with several souvenirs including the handle from Hitler’s toilet.
And just last month, the son of an American soldier stationed overseas during World War II claimed to be in possession of another of Hitler’s toilet mementos.
A toilet seat was ‘liberated’ by his father, Sergeant Ragnvald Borch, from the bathroom of the Fuhrer’s notorious Berghof residence, set in a dramatic location high in the Bavarian Alps.
The seat apparently came from the CR nearest to Hitler’s bedroom so was probably used by the dictator on a daily basis. Son Michael told how his father would often joke: “This is where Hitler did all his thinking.”
Millions of words have been written about Hitler, but until now precious little about his toilets. One has to wonder what we can expect next – perhaps a pair of Hitler’s underpants for sale on eBay?