Cartographer: Hitler's globe is missing

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Wolfram Pobanz, a 68-year-old retired cartographer, is positive that it’s not the one in the Deutsches Historisches Museum, with the Russian bullet hole through Germany, and he can prove it.

Neither is it the one in the Märkisches Museum, the Berlin history museum nearby, nor the one in a geographical institute across town, which first caught Mr. Pobanz’s eye 40-odd years ago when he was a student.

“We called it the Führer globe,” he remembered. It planted the seed of his fascination with the Columbus Globe for State and Industry Leaders, as this enormous model was called — a far cry from the inflatable version that Charlie Chaplin bounced around in “The Great Dictator,” which mocked Hitler’s megalomania and created the indelible vision of a fascist tyrant doing a pas de deux with the planet.

Manufactured in two limited editions in Berlin during the mid-1930s (the second edition changed Abyssinia to Italian East Africa), the real Columbus globe was nearly the size of a Volkswagen and, at the time, more expensive. A standard wood base was designed to support it, but custom furniture stands were made for Hitler and other Nazi leaders. Mr. Pobanz has been methodically tracking them down.

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