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Pieces of rock from Berchtesgaden/ Hitler's Eagles Nest

Article about: Hello, all! I have posted this in my garbage thread... if a moderator deems this thread unnecessary, feel free to delete it! I just thought members of this forum who do not subscribe to my g

  1. #1

    Default Souvenirs from Berchtesgaden/ Eagles Nest

    Hello, all!

    I have posted this in my garbage thread... if a moderator deems this thread unnecessary, feel free to delete it! I just thought members of this forum who do not subscribe to my garbage thread would be interested.

    I recently received a grouping of items that belonged to Pvt Don Lane, a member of the 14th Armored Division during WWII.

    Part of this grouping included various rocks/ pieces of marble. His son-in-law, the gentleman who is letting me borrow these items, went into detail about how Pvt. Lane picked up these rocks in Berchtesgaden and the Eagles Nest and was very proud of them.

    I must admit that I took this story with a grain of salt... collecting Militaria, especially TR items has taught me to appreciate the item for what it is, and NOT believe the story people pitch you about the items...

    Here is a picture of the pieces of rock I currently have. The piece in the center/bottom is flat and smooth leading me to believe it was chipped off of a finished structure. Building, statue, railing, fireplace...
    Click image for larger version. 

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    With that being said, Big Ned made this post in my garbage thread that got me thinking:

    Quote by big ned View Post
    Hi Joe,

    Regarding the pieces of rock you have. I can't see a G.I. picking up random shards of rock and carting them back home, they must have had some significance for him to do this IMO.

    Below is a couple of photo's of Hitler's fireplace at the Eagles Nest in Berchtesgaden, it was a gift to him from Mussolini and is made of Italian marble, a dark red type with white striations running through it. The borderof the hearth was different in being white stone.

    The first one is what the fireplace originally looked like, the second what it's like today after the G.I.'s had a good old hack at it, and the other two are fragments of it that have been auctioned recently.

    It may only be a theory; but I think there is a fair chance that at least a couple of these pieces may well be part of that fireplace.

    Regards, Ned.
    So! What are your thoughts on this? Did the 14th Armored pass thru The Eagles Nest? If not, how easy would it have been for Pvt. Don Lane to make his way there to do some sight seeing and take his own piece of Hitler's fireplace?

    THANKS FOR YOUR TIME AND CONSIDERATION!
    Last edited by GIZMO8Z; 05-01-2012 at 04:46 PM.

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  3. #2

    Default Re: Pieces of rock from Berchtesgaden/ Hitler's Eagles Nest

    Here is a picture of the fireplace in all it's glory during the TR:
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    Here is a picture of the fireplace that shows how GIs tore it apart for souvenirs:
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  4. #3

    Default Re: Pieces of rock from Berchtesgaden/ Hitler's Eagles Nest

    I've got no opinion, one way or the other, as to the origins of these rockes however, as for a GI picking up a rock and putting in his pocket, I can attest to this being a strong possibility as my father did the same thing although more on a sight seeing tour than in combat. My father was a China Marine and was part of the group that was stationed in China (Peking area) post war. He and a few of his buddies took a trip to the Great Wall of China where he picked up a palm sized stone, from the wall. He has it to this day.......hopefully to be passed down to my son at some point. Russ

  5. #4

    Default Re: Pieces of rock from Berchtesgaden/ Hitler's Eagles Nest

    Quote by MySonsDad View Post
    I've got no opinion, one way or the other, as to the origins of these rockes however, as for a GI picking up a rock and putting in his pocket, I can attest to this being a strong possibility as my father did the same thing although more on a sight seeing tour than in combat. My father was a China Marine and was part of the group that was stationed in China (Peking area) post war. He and a few of his buddies took a trip to the Great Wall of China where he picked up a palm sized stone, from the wall. He has it to this day.......hopefully to be passed down to my son at some point. Russ
    It certainly seems like a common thing to do. I know that during my numerous trips to Rome, I may ... or may not have picked up little pieces of loose marble from the Colosseum / pieces of cobble stone from the Appian way...

    I believe the pieces of marble are authentic because they are being kept as family heirlooms. Pvt. Lane's son-in-law did not try to sell them to me, and his story just seemed sincere and enthusiastic.

  6. #5

    Default Re: Pieces of rock from Berchtesgaden/ Hitler's Eagles Nest

    Again, more speculation...

    Could the red circled area be carbon/smoke residue?
    Click image for larger version. 

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  7. #6

    Default Re: Pieces of rock from Berchtesgaden/ Hitler's Eagles Nest

    Hi Joe,

    The 14th Division was part of the 3rd Army. The 30th Infantry Division of the 3rd Army captured Berchtesgaden in May '45. The 14th were at this time approximately 130 miles away in the Ingolstadt area although elements of the division eventually got to within approximately 70 miles of Berchtesgaden.

    It is possible your man visited there after hostilities ceased on May 8th. Or he may have got the items from a soldier who had been there, 'swaps' maybe?

    BTW; as an aside, the 14th Division liberated several sub-camps of Dachau KZL shortly before this time. My guessing is that the wooden utensils you have may have originated from them.

    This is of course conjecture, but who knows? As you say, the veteran was very proud of these pieces, and IMO rightly so!

    Below is a photo of elements of the 30th Infantry Division just outside Berchtesgaden.

    Regards, Ned.
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    'I do not think we can hope for any better thing now.
    We shall stick it out to the end, but we are getting weaker of course, and the end cannot be far.
    It seems a pity, but I do not think I can write more. R. SCOTT.
    Last Entry - For God's sake look after our people.'

    In memory of Capt. Robert Falcon Scott, Edward Wilson, Henry Bowers, Lawrence Oates and Edgar Evans. South Pole Expedition, 30th March 1912.

  8. #7

    Default Re: Pieces of rock from Berchtesgaden/ Hitler's Eagles Nest

    As one can see, there is a darker pattern in the piece of rock, and upon inspection, the fireplace appears to have a similar pattern. But one thing bugs me, the fireplace has the white spots all around it, and that piece has to be really small to actually have no white patterns on it at all.

  9. #8

    Default Re: Pieces of rock from Berchtesgaden/ Hitler's Eagles Nest

    Quote by big ned View Post
    Hi Joe,

    The 14th Division was part of the 3rd Army. The 30th Infantry Division of the 3rd Army captured Berchtesgaden in May '45. The 14th were at this time approximately 130 miles away in the Ingolstadt area although elements of the division eventually got to within approximately 70 miles of Berchtesgaden.

    It is possible your man visited there after hostilities ceased on May 8th. Or he may have got the items from a soldier who had been there, 'swaps' maybe?

    BTW; as an aside, the 14th Division liberated several sub-camps of Dachau KZL shortly before this time. My guessing is that the wooden utensils you have may have originated from them.

    This is of course conjecture, but who knows? As you say, the veteran was very proud of these pieces, and IMO rightly so!

    Below is a photo of elements of the 30th Infantry Division just outside Berchtesgaden.

    Regards, Ned.
    Thanks for the response, Ned! Also, I hope you don't mind me quoting you in the OP. I did some basic research on the items I received last night and the utencils seemed rather out of place to me... Then I read that the 14th liberated numerous POW camps, Forced Labor and Concentration Camps and the division took on the nickname: "The Liberators" and it hit me like a ton of bricks!

  10. #9

    Default Re: Pieces of rock from Berchtesgaden/ Hitler's Eagles Nest

    Quote by Poromies View Post
    As one can see, there is a darker pattern in the piece of rock, and upon inspection, the fireplace appears to have a similar pattern. But one thing bugs me, the fireplace has the white spots all around it, and that piece has to be really small to actually have no white patterns on it at all.
    Thanks for the reply! The pieces of rock are all very small. I will take more pictures this afternoon when I return home from work:
    Click image for larger version. 

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  11. #10

    Default Re: Pieces of rock from Berchtesgaden/ Hitler's Eagles Nest

    These 'Hitler's Hearth' ashtrays pop up on auction sites on a fairly regular basis, they average around $500 apiece and are fairly hefty at 1 1/4 lbs in weight.

    The story goes that an American officer picked up a large piece of the fireplace from Berchtesgaden one month after the end of the war and took it home to the casting foundry where he worked. The marble was cut into VERY small pieces and mounted into cast aluminium ashtrays cunningly fashioned into a recreation of the original fireplace. These were then sold as souvenirs, and as so many were produced a healthy profit was realised!

    These photo's show the differences in the colour of the Italian marble that made up the fireplace, and I've seen other colour varients too, so I think it's not unrealistic to see a piece that is not reddish brown and white, it's just the way the marble was formed.

    Regards, Ned.
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture Click image for larger version. 

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    Attached Images Attached Images  
    'I do not think we can hope for any better thing now.
    We shall stick it out to the end, but we are getting weaker of course, and the end cannot be far.
    It seems a pity, but I do not think I can write more. R. SCOTT.
    Last Entry - For God's sake look after our people.'

    In memory of Capt. Robert Falcon Scott, Edward Wilson, Henry Bowers, Lawrence Oates and Edgar Evans. South Pole Expedition, 30th March 1912.

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