Did You Know?

Hitler, while in prison, wrote to a Mercedes dealership begging for a car loan.

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Adolf Hitler wrote a begging letter to a Mercedes dealership asking for a loan for a limousine until his royalties for Mein Kampf came through.

The letter, was written in 1924 from his jail cell at Landsberg Fortress prison where he was imprisoned that year for his role in the “Bierkeller Putsch” when his nascent Nazi party tried, and failed, to seize power in Munich.

“But the hardest thing for me at the moment lies in the fact that the biggest payment for my work is not expected until the middle of December,” he wrote in September 1924 to Herr Ferlin.

“So I am compelled to ask for a loan or an advance. Naturally something in the order of several thousand marks would be a big help.” The letter also voiced concern about the engine of the vehicle; “That is the only thing about the 11/40 that makes me cautious. I can’t afford a vehicle every two or three years or pay for expensive repairs either.” Hitler was freed from his five-year jail sentence in December 1924, the month that he told Herr Ferlin he would be getting his first advances on Mein Kampf. But it is not known whether the auto dealer ever did business with him or not.

The letter was found at a flea market and authenticated by the Bavarian State Archive in Munich. It was the copy of Hitler’s letter kept by the prison; the original went to Herr Ferlin and has been lost to history.

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