- Photos taken by one of the first British soldiers to enter Berlin in 1945 are being put up for auction
- The snaps show the destroyed Reich Chancellery, as well as Hitler’s private office and conference hall
- They were taken by a member of the Grenadier Guards, whom the auction firm hasn’t been able to identify
- Unnamed soldier had also been able to get his hands on Joseph Goebbels’ personal cutlery and a silver plate
- Do you know the identity of the mystery soldier behind the camera? Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Never-before-seen photos of Adolf Hitler’s Reich Chancellery in ruins after the surrender of Berlin in the summer of 1945 are being put up for auction in Britain.
They show how the once lavish interior of the Chancellery, including Hitler’s private office and his henchmen’s conference room, was reduced to rubble by the Allies in the final days of the war.
The fascinating photo album was compiled by one of the first British soldiers to enter Berlin at the end of the Second World War – a mystery member of the Grenadier Guards.
Reich in ruins: This collection of never-before-seen photos of Berlin after the surrender in 1945 shows Adolf Hitler’s Reich Chancellery in ruin after being devastated by Allied bombs and the Red Army
Popular with the ladies: The mystery Guardsman (left) poses with a fellow Guardsman and Russian female soldiers in Berlin
Hitler’s private chamber: The Nazi dictator’s private office is pictured during the war, and in July 1945, after it was destroyed
Mystery man: The photographs have been consigned to a Kent auction firm, but they have been unable to unveil the identity of the young British Guardsman who is behind the lens and also appears in many photos himself
Bang, bang: The Nazi German Chancellery’s bronze sign, is seen riddled with bullets and Russian graffiti
The collection includes photos taken by the unnamed soldier both inside and outside the Chancellery in Berlin, as well as Nazi postcards he acquired to show how it would have looked during the war.
A sign outside the chancellery is seen covered in bullet holes and graffiti left by the Russians, who were the first soldiers to reach Berlin in April 1945.
The soldier, a member of the Grenadier Guards, is seen himself in some of the photographs, posing on the remains of a German armoured car at the entrance to the chancellery in one image, and next to two Russian women soldiers in another.
He took various photos of flattened landmarks including the prestigious Adlon Hotel. Once the ‘social centre’ of Berlin and a favourite of celebrities, it had been destroyed in a fire in May 1945 when drunk Russian soldiers started a fire in the wine cellar
Before and after; The grand Chancellery conference hall, where Hitler and his henchmen sat on leather chairs emblazoned with the Nazi swastika and eagle, is seen before and after the end of the war
Former glamour: The ruins of the Adlon Hotel in Berlin, the former ‘social centre’ of the city where celebrities often stayed, which had fared comparatively well throughout the bombings, but was destroyed in a fire in May 1945 when drunk Russian soldiers started a fire in the wine cellar
Cleanup: Ruins of Berlin buildings have been swept to the side in the wake of the German Nazi surrender in July 1945
Serving the world: The mystery Guardsman, left, poses with fellow British soldiers – who are also not named
One fascinating photo shows two German soldiers stood next to a battered vehicle with the caption stating ‘yes they just stand there waiting for us’, implying the men were relieved the war was over and they had not been captured by the Russians.
And another image shows the soldier posing next to the statue of 18th century Prussian leader Frederick the Great in Berlin’s Tiergarten.
The photo album has been consigned for auction by a British private collector with C&T Auctions of Ashford, Kent, and is expected to sell for at least £300,
The soldier also took home with him a set of Nazi propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels’ personal cutlery, emblazoned with his initials ‘J’ and ‘G’. The cutlery set has been valued at £600 ahead of the auction on July 10.
And a silver platter he picked up which was used for banquets at the chancellery carries an estimate of £1,500.
Documenting the journey: The Guardsman is photographed sitting on top of a destroyed armoured car in the courtyard of the Reich Chancellery while holding his own camera
The unknown Guardsman poses outside the entrance to the Chancellery with Russian officers in the background
The soldier also took home with him a set of Nazi propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels’ personal cutlery, emblazoned with his initials ‘J’ and ‘G’, which is valued at £600
Further treasure: A Reich Kanzlei silver platter used for banquets at the Chancellery has been estimate at £1,500
Life goes on: Berliners are seen walking down the streets lines with devastated buildings as some soldiers watch
Nowhere left to run: Surrendered German troops await their fate by the roadside near Berlin in the summer of 1945, with the caption written by the Guardsman stating; ‘yes they just stand there waiting for us’
Matthew Tredwen, specialist at C&T Auctions, said: ‘Unfortunately we have not been able to put a name to the British soldier although his uniform indicates he was a Grenadier Guard.
‘He was stationed in Berlin at the end of the war and took these fascinating photos which show the devastation of the conflict.
‘The Reich Chancellery was an iconic building but it was gutted by the Germans because they didn’t want the Russians to get their hands on the valuable furniture inside.
‘The British soldier was however able to acquire cutlery which belonged to Joseph Goebbels and a silver platter which definitely came from the chancellery as it was parked ‘RK’ (Reichskanzlei).’