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Posted Wednesday, January 21, 2004
  A dagger said to have been presented by Göring to Dr Otto Meissner, bought for £42,500. . .
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 The Irish Times

 Dublin, Wednesday, January 21, 2004


Taxing Master takes court case over items of Nazi memorabilia


Hitler, GoeringA SENIOR Dublin law officer who claims a fellow collector sold him fake Hermann Göring memorabilia yesterday began a High Court action in London to get his money back.

Mr James Flynn, a Taxing Master at the High Court, says he paid £160,750 for four supposedly historic items, including a baton said to have been used by the Nazi Luftwaffe chief, Hermann Göring.

Mr Flynn, whose job is to assess costs and fix fees for cases in the High Court and Supreme Court, is a keen war-memorabilia collector.

He is suing his former friend and fellow enthusiast Mr Kevin Wheatcroft, of Arnesby, Leicestershire, claiming breach of contract and misrepresentation.

But Mr Wheatcroft, who says he is an amateur collector, not a dealer, and whose main interest is tanks and artillery, denies he sold the items to Mr Flynn, saying he merely acted as a "go-between". His barrister, Mr Tim Penny, told Judge Paul Darlow that even if the factual allegations were proved, Mr Wheatcroft had never "guaranteed" the items were associated with Göring.

In his opening address, Mr Flynn's barrister, Mr Arshad Ghaffar, said the items, bought between 1996 and 1998, were described as:

  1. A dagger said to have been presented by Göring to Dr Otto Meissner, bought for £42,500.
  2. Items of insignia said to be Reichsmarshall Göring's shoulder boards and collar patches, bought for £5,750.
  3. An SA staff/baton, said to be Göring's as seen in a period photograph of him, bought for £60,000.
  4. A dagger, accompanied by an "original" presentation document said to have been presented by Göring to Sepp Dietrich -- bought for £52,500.

NurembergJudge Darlow noted that the legal costs in the case were likely to be substantial. "It is a sad case of two people who at one stage had great respect and friendship for each other," he said. Urging the two collectors to settle their differences, he also noted that there were "substantial risks" on both sides and the outcome of the case was by no means certain.

Mr Ghaffar said Mr Flynn's core case was simple -- the four items were sold to him by Mr Wheatcroft "as actually being what they were said to be". But, in fact, he argued the items were not authentic and Mr Flynn was entitled to his money back.

"He is not accusing Mr Wheatcroft in this case of having defrauded him," said Mr Ghaffar, but he told the judge that Mr Wheatcroft had nevertheless "represented" the items as being authentic.

The case continues.

© The Irish Times

 Picture: Göring (top) and fellow accused at Nuremberg >>

Ned Putzell's [false] claim to have provided the suicide pill to Göring
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