Thursday, 25 February 2016

Private Lives

A Jewish refugee arrived penniless in England in 1938, one of the last escapees of the Nazi regime; the family members remaining in Germany were all killed in the camps. In time he set up a business and it prospered. When he died recently most of his considerable estate was divided among his widow and his son and daughter.

He had also made provision to leave several millions of pounds to a charitable foundation that he had started many years earlier, founded, as he said, against any future Holocaust, where the money might be used to assist other refugees.

His son, an accountant, and daughter, a barrister, have filed a claim in court against each other, to recover the foundation money for themselves. It seems that the daughter was willed a considerably larger portion of the inheritance than the son, who took the revelation badly, and so chose to challenge the legitimacy of the off-shore account in which the foundation funds are kept; leaving the daughter no option but to defend her position.

The legal costs now exceed the value of the foundation money. The case continues.

In an antiques emporium in Portsmouth, England - a warehouse, really - where displays of wooden ship models, World War I German helmets, paintings of battles and other military related items are offered for sale, there is a locked cabinet. In the cabinet there are valuable medals, coins, maps and other ephemera.

On the second shelf down, tucked in amongst the Death's Head rings and swastika-tipped daggers, is a pale translucent green vase. The tag informs the curious that the vase was recovered from Hitler's bunker in Berlin in May, 1945 by a British officer, a few days before the end of the Second World War. 

We are further informed that  the vase was found still containing a bouquet of flowers, and that a German prisoner had confirmed that the flowers were Eva Braun's, used in her wedding ceremony to Adolf Hitler on April 29, 1945, the day before their suicide in the same room where the vase was found.

On a separate tag, the letters PoA (Price on Application).

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