"Would you like some of Hitler's Champagne to go along with your venison goulash?"
These are words you might actually hear if you go to Silvio Stelzer's restaurant—Zum Dreispitz—in Saxony, Germany. It appears to be a lovely eatery located on the grounds of the historic Moritzburg Castle, not far from Dresden, Germany. According to Tripadvisor, the restaurant serves its food on triangular plates because a dreispitz is a type of three-cornered hat.
And they also have Nazi cognac.
Apparently, Silvio Stelzer, a German restaurateur, bought a villa on the Moritzburg Castle estate back in 2007 and chose it as the location for Zum Dreispitz. But during recent renovations, Stelzer was astounded when he found several bottles of Cognac and Champagne dating back to World War II in a series of six interconnected, underground cellars on the property—bottles that had somehow managed to evade the looting Russian Red Army after the war.
"Investigations showed that the SS, on Hitler's order, hid gigantic stores of Cognac and Champagne here," according to Stelzer.
At one time, the cellars had been filled to the brim with Cognac and Champagne, believed to have been looted from France during World War II, and put into the personal collection of everyone's most-hated Aryan overlord: Adolf Hitler. Stelzer reports that he found a book, written by the last owner of the castle, Prince Ernst Heinrich of Saxony, during the renovations; it detailed the use of the cellars as Nazi storage units.
In 1944, as Berlin was assaulted by Allied bombers, hundreds of boxes bearing the alcohol, along with "cheese, biscuits, tins of butter, salami sausage, coffee, chocolate and cigarettes—everything that ... was impossible to get on the home front," were hidden away.
This happened while millions across Europe starved. In fact, food scarcity in Germany was so bad towards the end of the war that an estimated 40 percent of meat and bread consumed by Germany was produced in either occupied territory or by forced laborers.
Hitler was himself a teetotaler—he neither drank nor smoked—but he treated his most trusted officers well, at least in terms of keeping the drinks flowing. And now Stelzer is in the middle of a media shitstorm, holding the bottles.
So, who gets to keep the Nazi stash? Hitler's heirs?
In a word, no.
According to historians, Hitler has at least a dozen living relatives, some of whom can be found residing on quiet streets in unlikely places like Long Island, New York. And although Hitler did have a will—he left his stuff to three siblings—the German state of Bavaria seized all of Hitler's property after the Third Reich fell in 1945, and it currently owns the rights to his estate.
That's not to say that Hitler's relatives might not pop up and try to lay claim to the newly discovered vintage bubbly. Hitler's sister and the son of another half-sister have tried in the past to claim proceeds of the estate, but to no avail. Problem number one for the Hitler family: in the post-War chaos, no death certificate was ever issued for Hitler. Problem number two: a Munich court invalidated Hitler's will. In short, the Hitler heirs have not had it easy in laying claim to their ancestor's estate.
It's also pretty safe to say that you're not going to be the life of the party if you show up to a rager with half a bottle from your genocidal Uncle 'Dolph's liquor cabinet.
The bottom line is that the 20 or so heirs who are now living will have a hard time getting their hands on these newly uncovered bottles—or the royalties for Mein Kampf, which is about to enter the public domain anyway at the end of this year.
What will happen to the Hitler horde? It's unclear right now and no one is willing to wager a guess. Although 70 years have passed since the end of World War II and the death of Hitler, Hitler-related artifacts seem to be in the news a lot recently.
Last month, bronze horses that stood outside the Reich Chancellery were discovered on the black market. And in more salacious news, salmon-colored panties allegedly belonging to Eva Braun, Hitler's mistress, were recently put up for sale by an Ohio antique store for $7,500. Step aside, Beta Kappa. That has to be the most expensive panty raid ever.
So, the next time you are cleaning out your garage and think you found a great treasure when you uncover a dust-laden jar with a mysteriously viscous liquid that is either a memento from your elderly neighbor's prostate surgery or a real life mummified alien, think again. And what about that stash of Beanie Babies you found in your attic, including Poptopus, the tie-dyed, microphone-wielding octopus? Meh.
Turns out some people find real history in their cellars.