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Last Updated: Tuesday, 26 September 2006, 16:14 GMT 17:14 UK
Protesters invade Hitler art sale
Aaron Barschak
Aaron Barschak was ejected from the sale
Protesters have stormed an auction in Cornwall of watercolours believed to have been painted by Adolf Hitler.

Aaron Barschak, a comedian who gatecrashed Prince William's 21st birthday party, and a man dressed as Hitler were ejected from the auction.

They disrupted the bidding, offering "six million because the painting was a Mussolini" in a "comical protest".

During the auction in Lostwithiel, 21 works of art attributed to Hitler sold for a combined total of 118,000.

'Comical protest'

In 2003 Barschak, a self-styled "comedy terrorist", scaled the walls of Windsor Castle and entered the royal party wearing a pink dress, a false beard and a Osama bin Laden-style turban.

On Tuesday he said he was protesting because the sale of paintings by the Nazi dictator was offensive.

Drawing attributed to Hitler
The 21 drawings were found in an old suitcase in Belgium
Barschak's wife Tamara, 34, described her husband as "an intellectual Jew".

"This is a comical protest," she said.

"The sale here is offensive - it should never have been held.

"It's not a surprise that when they did decide to hold it they chose a quiet village in Cornwall.

"If it was in London there would have been protests. Adolf Hitler was a mass murderer and to make money from that is wrong."

Some relatives of Holocaust survivors have also denounced the sale and said the pictures should be burned.

'A bit grotesque'

The 21 paintings and two pencil sketches under the hammer at Jefferys auctioneers were found in an old suitcase in a Belgium attic, close to where Hitler served during World War I.

Dr Paul Newgass, the vice president of Exeter Synagogue, described the auction of the work believed to be the Nazi dictator's as "a bit grotesque".

He said: "It's stirring up the past and a slap in the face for the families of Holocaust victims.

"I can understand why some people feel so distressed, but I don't think the auction will impact on the day-to-day aspect of Jewish life."

Auctioneer Ian Morris said the interruption was "just one of those things".

''These are historical documents and we can't change history.

"Maybe it's not so bad to bring this man back to the fore, so the things he did are never forgotten.''

See the demonstration

Auction of 'Hitler' watercolours
26 Sep 06 |  Cornwall
Big interest in 'Hitler' pictures
10 Aug 06 |  Cornwall
Aaron Barschak: 'Comedy terrorist'
24 Jun 03 |  Entertainment

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