A Dallas woman bid $9,000 for documents from the Nuremberg trials that were found in an old locked trunk in Alaska that belonged to a postwar stenographer.
Fran Berg, a member of the Texas Holocaust and Genocide Commission, was the highest bidder for the items in an auction of World War II memorabilia Saturday by the Alaska Auction Co. in Anchorage. With a 15 percent buyer's premium paid to the auction house, Berg paid a total of $10,350.
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"This is very special," Berg said Wednesday of the collection, which includes carbon copies of trial transcripts that had belonged to the late Maxine Carr, a stenographer at the war-crimes trials following the war.
The collection also includes a staff directory for the multinational tribunal that prosecuted scores of Nazi masterminds in the trials, a translated letter to Nazi faithful that signs off with "Heil Hitler" and personal credentials, correspondence and canisters of undeveloped film.
The documents were found stored in Carr's long-vacant Anchorage home. Carr died at least a decade ago, but it's not clear exactly when.
Berg said she has long known concentration camp survivors. Also, her late father-in-law was a Jewish-American U.S. soldier who helped liberate Nazi victims from a concentration camp in Dachau. It was a piece of his history he never talked about except once when he agreed to tell his story on videotape for Holocaust Museum Houston.
Carr's collection resonated with Berg when she got word it was available by auction. That the items were found in a trunk reminded her of her father-in-law, who had kept military discharge papers and medals in a shoebox she found in a closet after his death six years ago.
"You put it away in a trunk, and nobody will ever know," Berg said of the Carr collection. "That trunk is so full of history that the world needs to know."
Berg bought the items as a private citizen and said she wants to show it to war survivors and universities, and offer it on loan to museums as a traveling exhibit. She also wants to interview Carr's 91-year-old widower, Chand Sud, who lives in an Anchorage assisted living facility.
At the auction, other people were bidding on the Nuremberg items with the intention of destroying them so that part of history would not be glorified, according to Christine Hill, who has owned the Anchorage auction house with her husband for 30 years. Hill said she was happy that the collection went to someone who believes it's an era that should never be forgotten.
When Berg learned she submitted the winning bid, she called Hill crying.
"She was so happy she got it," Hill said. "I was really touched, and I started crying a little bit."
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