Adolf Hitler and Bruckmann Flatware

In early 1939, Adolf Hitler was riding a wave of popularity. Germany had regained the sense of pride and nationalism lost in the wake of their defeat in The Great War. The German economy and the German people had gained a robust growth that was the envy of Europe, and a skill and pride in craftsmanship that was world-renowned.

Adolf Hitler regularly entertained large numbers of his trusted inner circle and visiting dignitaries with lavish dinners. These gatherings took place at his numerous residences: Der Berghof (the Mountain Home); Der Adlerhorst (the Eagle's Nest); Das Gasthaus (the Guest House) at Obersalzberg; Das Braune Haus (the Brown House); Der Prinzregentenplatz apartment in München; and Das Reichskanzlei (the Empire's Offices) in Berlin. The same practice was also true of Heinrich Himmler, Eva Braun, Hermann Göring and Albert Speer. Clearly, there existed a requirement for a considerable quantity of superior silver flatware for the hierarchy of the Third Reich.

"I have discussed the many patterns of silverware possessed by myself, Adolf Hitler, Eva Braun-Hitler, Göring, Himmler, Bormann and others. It was common practice for the silverware manufacturers in Germany as well as the occupied countries to present complete sets of their patterns to the members of the High Command and people who had power and influence. The silver was always marked with the monogram or coat-of-arms of the recipients and personally delivered by a representative of the silver firm. It was common practice when we were at Der Berghof or at private informal dinners with other Party members to use the newly acquired settings. Eva Braun especially delighted in showing off her new patterns at any opportunity, frequently using a different pattern at each place at the table and asking her guests which patterns they preferred." — Albert Speer, 1981

The firm of Bruckmann & Söhne, located in Heilbronn, with distributors in all of the major cities, had a long history of providing the finest level of quality and workmanship of any of the other German silver manufacturers. Someone, somewhere, noted that Hitler's 50th birthday was perhaps a good time to create a presentation setting to not only rival a gift of Kings, but to surpass any gift ever presented to a world leader. The Bruckmann birthday present was beyond spectacular: the records are sketchy; but there were at least 3,000 discrete pieces involved. Apparently, there were six complete sets of 500 pieces (possibly five sets of 600) that were distributed among the places Hitler frequented the most. The service pieces were made of brilliant .925 (92.5%) silver, and the matching tableware, needing to be harder and more durable, were made of 800 (80%) silver.

The Eagle & AH Formal Pattern presentation silver with cast, rolled, or appliqued monograms has been documented as being in many of Hitler's residences and offices. The monogram features a National Eagle, with the wings folded downward and fully displayed. The eagle's talons grasp a wreath surrounding a swastika. The initials of Adolf Hitler appear one on each side of the wreath. Additionally, the handle is bordered with an attractive design known as "Greek key". Hitler was a lover of Greek classic art and the "Greek key" design found hand engraved on but (??) all the flatware was said to represent the River Maeander, the ancient Greek name for the Menderes River in Turkey. This body of water that twists and turns and makes geometric patterns as it flows gives rise to the English word "meander", and also is given the name "Greek key". This pattern was first designed by Faru Gerdy Troost, wife of Professor Paul Ludwig Troost, the chief architect of the Reich and father of the German autobahn. There appear to be many thousands of pieces made using this pattern. This particular pattern of silver surfaced from all over Germany at the end of the war. It was apparently used wherever Hitler maintained a regular residence or offices where he might be called upon to entertain guests of the State.

The so-called Informal Pattern contains the eagle and monogram only, and the stylized eagle design is depicted with little detail. It is not known why the "Informal Pattern" was produced, but it is thought to have been possibly used as a "luncheon" pattern, and only at one of the larger residences - perhaps at the Reich Chancellery.

The Runic A Over H Pattern (IM006283.jpg) was most commonly used at the Berghof in Obersalzberg.

The Outline AH Pattern was most commonly seen at Die Reichskanzlei in Berlin, although some pieces were also recovered from Obersalzberg.

The Outline AH Pattern has appeared in several variations. Some associated with his personal train and no doubt would have been present in railcar #5 Der Führer's Pullman #10206 and #8 the Dining Car.

The Flat Top A AH Pattern (AHSpoonA2.jpg) (an unusual variation of the monogrammed pattern) was also encountered on his glassware and several of his cufflinks.

The Pointed AH Pattern (a distinct curved variant) has also been seen on Hitler's glassware, cufflinks as well as other silver flatware patterns.

The Outline Curved AH Pattern (IM006281.jpg) is best described as a variation of the "Outline AH Pattern". Again, this pattern has been attributed to Adolf Hitler's personal train.

The Outline Curved Linked AH Pattern (AHKnife1C.jpg) is the "Outline AH" curved monogram variant similar to the above, only with the flat top "A" above and linked to the "H". Another variation on this has the pointed "A" above and linked to the "H". Both have been attributed to Adolf Hitler's train.

The Eva Braun EB Butterfly Pattern - at the request of Eva Braun, her close friend and confidant Albert Speer (Hitler's favorite architect) designed the famous "EB" butterfly pattern for her. This unique design has appeared on many of her personal possessions including silver flatware, silverware, linen and even her lingerie.