X-Mass gifts Hitler would have liked





I confess to being in the market for an expensive watch. I say I confess because I know the watch I buy for a lot of money will not be more accurate than a watch I could have bought for a lot less, but there you have it. This explains why I gave more than cursory attention to a double-page ad in the Sunday New York Times for expensive watches. One caught my eye. It seemed oversized, which is the fashion these days, and built to take a bullet or two, which is required these days, and undoubtedly water resistant down to where the homicidal stingrays roam, and it was altogether handsome, although not for me. But it was the name that caught my eye: U-Boat.

U-Boat? The Unterseeboot responsible for sinking untold allied ships during World War II, costing many lives and so impressing Winston Churchill that he said, "The only thing that really frightened me during the war was the U-boat peril"? That U-boat? Yes, apparently. And that raises another question: Who would buy, not to mention wear, a watch named after a killer sub that, while used in World War I, really earned its rep in World War II as a fighter on the side of the Nazis? In other words, who could be so ahistorical, ignorant, or just plain tasteless to wear something on their wrist that immediately brings to mind, among other things, the ovens of Auschwitz?

One answer is that it has to be the same people who will soon bid on the car CNNMoney.com and AOL both called "Hitler race car." This Auto Union D-Type is expected to go for as much as $12 million at a Paris auction. The car was built by Ferdinand Porsche, then with Auto Union, the company now known as Audi. In the '30s, Porsche accepted Hitler's challenge to build a car that would showcase German technological advances....



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