Autograph of evil: Hitler-signed copy of 'Mein Kampf' surfaces

An autographed copy of Adolf Hitler's "Mein Kampf," described as the "rarest ever," is set to go up for auction later this month.

The book, which was written while Hitler was imprisoned, is one of 20 limited edition copies and was given to fellow Nazi Hermann Esser on Christmas Eve 1925, SWNS reports. It is covered with vellum and has gilt embossed to the spine.

"These copies were only given to the closest possible people to Hitler in the emerging Nazi party," auction house Mullocks Auctioneers wrote in a description.

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A spokesperson for Mullocks Auctioneers told SWNS: “This is probably the rarest ever edition of Mein Kampf ever to be offered at auction. It is one of 20 – you can’t get much rarer than that."

Hitler signed the first edition 'Special Presentation' copy and gave it to fellow Nazi and prison inmate Hermann Esser on Christmas Eve 1925. Signed copies of the book were only handed out to a select few of Hitler’s inner circle. (Credit: SWNS)

Hitler signed the first edition 'Special Presentation' copy and gave it to fellow Nazi and prison inmate Hermann Esser on Christmas Eve 1925. Signed copies of the book were only handed out to a select few of Hitler’s inner circle. (Credit: SWNS)

Some 10 million copies of "Mein Kampf" were sold or distributed in Germany during the 1920s and 1930s.

Inside the book is an inscription that reads: “Hermann Esser the good old comrade on the occasion of Christmas 1925.”

A dedication inside reads: “Hermann Esser the good old comrade on the occasion of Christmas 1925.” Esser joined the Nazi party with Hitler in 1920 and became the editor of the organization's newspaper Völkischer Beobachter. (Credit: SWNS)

A dedication inside reads: “Hermann Esser the good old comrade on the occasion of Christmas 1925.” Esser joined the Nazi party with Hitler in 1920 and became the editor of the organization's newspaper Völkischer Beobachter. (Credit: SWNS)

Esser, who died at the age of 81 in 1980, joined the Nazi party in 1920, along with Hitler. From there, he became the editor of the Nazi propaganda newspaper "Volkischer Beobachter" and eventually a member of the Reichstag. He would go on to become Hitler's "de facto deputy," the auction house added, taking part in the Bierkeller Putsch.

He was ostracized and excluded from the party for a short time, until Hitler became an influential member and later rejoined the Nazis.

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After World War II, Esser was arrested by American authorities but was later released. He was arrested again by West German police in 1949, found guilty of being a "major offender" and sentenced to five years of hard labor and lost his civil rights for life. Esser was ultimately released in 1952.

It is set to go under auction on Feb. 23 and could sell for as much as $38,925 (£30,000), Mullocks said on its website.

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