Weird History

Real Nazi Relics You Can Visit Right Here in the USA If You're Into That Kind Of Thing 

Brian Guthrie
2.7k views 9 items

Have you ever wondered what relics of the Third Reich in the USA can be found — or even visited? Who doesn't want a Panzer sitting in their driveway? Who hasn't fantasized about eating breakfast off of a silver platter that Hitler once owned? Maybe you're a dedicated comics fan who wants nothing more than to finish that stunning replica of the Red Skull.

Regardless, the mysteries of the Third Reich have long fascinated historians. Thanks, in part, to ex-patriot followers of Hitler who were never caught, for the more dedicated students of history, it is very possible to view the vestiges of the doomed Aryan empire in the USA. From the still-in-existence planned community in Long Island to a nearly intact U-Boat, opportunities abound for you to see Nazi relics in the US. Not all of them are even in museums, and, if you have a small fortune you're just itching to use, you could become the next Kevin Wheatcroft

German Walther PP 7.65-mm. Handgun, Chicago, Illinois
German Walther PP 7.65-m... is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Real Nazi Relics You Can Visit Right Here in the USA If You're Into That Kind Of Thing
Photo: Michael Sullivan/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

In WWII, taking possessions off of perished foes was a common, if now illegal, practice. Weapons topped the list of hot, sought-after items, especially German handguns. One such weapon found its way into the possession of US Army Major General William P. Levine, one of the highest ranking Jewish generals in American history. Levine was one of the first soldiers to liberate the Dachau concentration camp and later interviewed both captors and captives to make sure the records were preserved of what actually happened there. He obtained the handgun from a captured German officer and kept it in his possession until he passed. Today, it resides in the Pritzker Military Museum in Chicago, on display for anyone interested in looking for it.

Hitler's Limo, General Lyon's Automobile Collection, Southern California
Hitler's Limo, General L... is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Real Nazi Relics You Can Visit Right Here in the USA If You're Into That Kind Of Thing
Photo:  Pedro Ribeiro Simoes/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY 2.0

Many car enthusiasts love to see unique or rare cars, and some even acquire them, as was the case with William Lyon, US Army General, retired. The vehicle that caught his eye was a 1941 Mercedes-Benz 770K Grosser W150 Offener Tourenwagen, but it's more famously known as Hitler's limousine. This particular model is one of the rarest ever built, and, despite all of its unique compartments and additions, it only ever carried the genocidal leader twice during a trip in Scandinavia. 

Still, the car was built especially for him, and it has gained a fame all its own since WWII ended. It drew crowds across the US when it was paraded around. Eventually, even this beast of a vehicle (it weighs five tons, in part, because of all of the armor and it need for special tires that will withstand the pressure) could only stay in the limelight for so long. It languished away until William Lyon and his father bought it and slowly restored it. Now, it sits on display in the General's private collection, resting atop a spinning platform that no longer functions because of the weight of the massive car, an eerie reminder of the decadence of Hitler.

Rosenberg Diary, US Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington, DC
Rosenberg Diary, US Holo... is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Real Nazi Relics You Can Visit Right Here in the USA If You're Into That Kind Of Thing
Photo:  Eric Taylor, Artist/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

Imagine discovering the long-lost diary of a man who predated Hitler in the Third Reich, once served as the interim party leader, and formed his own task force to steal the art of Europe in support of Hitler's museum dream. Imagine this journal contained the inner workings of a man who wrote a book detailing the struggles of Aryans against the Jews. As a historian, this would potentially be a Rosetta Stone for understanding a controversial and devastating period of history.

Such a discovery was made in 2013, when the US government confiscated the journal of Alfred Rosenburg (who was convicted of crimes related to WWII and faced capital punishment in 1946) from a scholar who claimed he had found it in the possession of Rosenburg's former aide. The diary proved to be less earth shattering than many hoped, but it still gave insights into one of the early masterminds of the Third Reich's rise to power.

The P-Horse, National Zoo, Washington, D.C.
The P-Horse, National Zo... is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Real Nazi Relics You Can Visit Right Here in the USA If You're Into That Kind Of Thing
Photo:  Ludovic Hurliman/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 2.0

Thanks to the Third Reich's obsession with dominating the genetic code of all of life, a genetically "superior" horse exists. Enter Lutz Heck, a German zoologist who found himself right at home with the more extreme elements of the Third Reich. In his attempts to gather together the world's most unique animals and cross-breed them to resurrect long-dead ancestral predecessors, he inadvertently helped prevent the complete extinction of Earth's last undomesticated horse, the Mongolian Przewalski's (shuh-val-skee) horse, or P-horse.

Sometimes mistaken for the tarpan, an extinct Eurasian horse of particular interest to the Third Reich zoologists, the P-horse found itself declared extinct in the wild in the 1960s, with only the horses Lutz Heck preserved in his zoos standing between that and complete extinction. From nine of those horses came salvation through science; today, the the species is listed as endangered, and you can see one at the Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington, D.C., where scientists are working to figure out breeding issues that continue to threaten the animals.