These pictures taken by Adolf Hitler’s personal bodyguard show the Führer and his henchmen rallying at Nuremberg and sweeping into Austria in the lead-up to war.
The photos were taken between 1937 and 1939 by a member of the dictator’s bodyguard unit, known as the 1st SS Panzer Division Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler.
The collection includes pictures of Hitler appearing at Nazi rallies, marching into Vienna following the Anschluss in 1938 and walking up a mountain near his Alpine retreat in Berchtesgaden.
There are also photos of other leading Nazis, including Heinrich Himmler on a visit to Bavaria and Rudolf Hess being driven to a Nazi rally.
Hitler and fellow Nazis in uniforms at the Nuremberg rally in 1937, almost exactly two years before the war broke out. The rally in the Nuremberg parade grounds was an annual propaganda showpiece for Hitler’s regime. During the war, the rally grounds were used as prison camps, holding prisoners of war and forced labourers until it was liberated by US troops in 1945
Hitler arrives in Vienna in 1938, leading his Nazi comrades along a railway platform, after Germany annexed Austria in what was known as the ‘Anschluss’. Hitler’s regime claimed popular support for the move after a sham referendum held in April 1938 showed 99.7 per cent of Austrian voters supposedly backing the annexation
This picture is captioned ‘Nuremberg beer tastes good’ and shows five men in Nazi uniforms taking a swig from a beer glass while off duty at the Nuremberg rally. The sign behind them refers to the Panzer division Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler, which was Hitler’s personal bodyguard unit and included the guard who took these photos
Rudolf Hess in the passenger’s seat of a car at a Nazi rally in the lead-up to the war. Hess was Hitler’s deputy for most of the 1930s but fled Germany in 1941, landing in Scotland where he was arrested. After the war he was sentenced to life in prison by judges at the Nuremberg trials. He was confined in Spandau Prison for the rest of his long life until he finally died in 1987
Heinrich Himmler (third from left) visiting Untersberg near Berchtesgaden along with others in Nazi uniforms in the lead-up to war. The Untersberg mountain straddles the border between Germany and Austria. At this time Himmler was head of the SS and chief of the German police, roles which would give him a central role in the Holocaust. He committed suicide in 1945
Hermann Goering’s house in Berchtesgaden, Bavaria, is pictured before the war. Goering had been at Hitler’s side since before the Munich putsch of 1923, and during the war was given the highest rank available in the Wehrmacht
This picture, entitled ‘Hermann’s country house’, shows the same building in Berchtesgaden after it was redeveloped in 1941. The driveway leading up to the building is shown decorated with Nazi flags. Goering killed himself in 1945 hours before he was due to be executed after he was found guilty of crimes against humanity at the Nuremberg trials
Many of the 170 photos are of the bodyguards, including pictures of the soldiers drinking beer while off duty.
The unit was responsible for guarding the Fuhrer’s ‘person, offices, and residences’, but later developed into a full infantry regiment which took part in the German occupation of Poland and France.
Several of the pictures are taken in Nuremberg, where the Nazis held a huge annual rally as a propaganda showpiece for Hitler’s regime.
Nuremberg took on a different significance after the war as the venue where many leading Nazis were put on trial for war crimes and some of them were sentenced to death.
There are also several pictures near Berchtesgaden in the Bavarian Alps, where Hitler had a mountain residence.
The Berghof residence was the venue where British prime minister Neville Chamberlain visited the Führer in 1938, before returning to Britain and infamously declaring ‘peace for our time’.
Hermann Goering also had a home nearby, which is shown in the collection after it was renovated and the driveway decorated with Nazi flags.
Hitler’s deputy Rudolf Hess is also seen in the pictures, two years before he flew to Scotland to seek peace with the British without Hitler’s knowledge.
A pre-war football match at the Olympic Stadium in Berlin. The stadium was built for the 1936 Olympics, which were a major propaganda showpiece for the Nazi regime. But all did not go to plan for Hitler, as black American runner Jesse Owens showed the nonsense of Hitler’s racial theories by winning four gold medals and the German football team lost to Norway
Hitler gives his own salute from a car and receives the same gesture from uniformed Nazis at a parade during the 1930s. Performing the salute, known in German as the Hitlergruß or ‘Hitler greeting’, is now illegal in Germany
Hitler and his cronies in Berchtesgaden before war broke out. By 1938 Hitler’s grip on power was such that the Nazis claimed to have won 98.9 per cent of the vote in a bogus ‘election’ endorsing the Führer’s rule. No free election had taken place since November 1932, and the next free election in a unified Germany would not be until 1990
Troops on one of the Autobahns which were built in the 1930s. Despite the popular myth, the Nazis did not invent the Autobahn and the construction of the motorways created fewer jobs than the Nazis had initially promised
Hitler walks past swastika flags and receives the Nazi salute as he arrives for a rally in Kiel, northern Germany. This close-quarters picture was taken by one of his personal bodyguards who looked after the Führer and his homes and offices
‘Gardens of the new Reich Chancellery’: This picture shows the outdoor decorations at Hitler’s headquarters in Berlin, which he inherited after taking power in 1933. Hitler died in a nearby bunker in 1945 and the building has since been demolished
This picture is captioned ‘a rest in the Grunewald’. It shows members of the LSSAH – the Panzer division named after Hitler which provided the Führer’s personal bodyguard, but later grew into a broader military unit – in the Grunewald forest west of Berlin
The stunning Alpine landscape around Berchtesgaden, in southern Germany near the border with Austria where Hitler had a mountain retreat. Hitler’s residence was known as the Berghof and was the venue where he met Neville Chamberlain for the 1938 conference which ended in the British prime minister infamously declaring ‘peace for our time’
Hitler arrives to dedicate the foundation stone of the new German Stadium in Nuremberg, near the site of the Nazi rally grounds. The stadium, designed by Hitler’s architect-in-chief Albert Speer, was intended to hold more than 400,000 people but like many of Hitler’s ambitious building plans, it never came to fruition after the war interrupted work on the stadium
An entrance to Hitler’s quarters at the Reich Chancellery in Berlin. The portrait appears to be of Paul von Hindenburg, who was president of Germany from 1925 until his death in 1934, and appointed Hitler as chancellor in 1933
Two pictures from near Berchtesgaden: Members of Hitler’s bodyguard unit have a drink with a view of the Alps in the background (left), and the Führer himself is pictured on a supposed walk to the summit (right)
The photo album was seized as a souvenir by a British soldier serving in Germany at the end of the war.
He brought it home with him and kept it for the rest of his life, and after he passed away his nephew found it locked away in his safe.
It is now coming up for sale with Oxfordshire auctioneers Jones and Jacob for £2,200.
Auctioneer Simon Jones said: ‘It has come from a client whose late uncle served in World War II and brought it home with him.
‘We don’t know exactly where he got it from but he must have been in the right place at the right time.
‘It has been in the family since the end of the war. Our vendor has inherited it and found it in a safe.
‘About 75 per cent of the photos are the leaders of the Nazi Party strutting around being arrogant b*****ds. There are all sorts of occasions, mostly Nazi rallies like Nuremberg.
‘As far as we know these photographs haven’t been seen by anybody before. The person who took them clearly had close up access to Hitler. We have received a lot of interest in them.’
The sale takes place tomorrow.
Members of Hitler’s bodyguard unit enjoying bottles of beer at an indoor drinking session in the lead-up to the war. The unit was responsible for guarding the Fuhrer’s ‘person, offices, and residences’
Members of the LSSAH bodyguard unit wearing SS vests at Hitler’s Alpine retreat near Berchtesgaden. Some SS members later rose to prominence in post-war West Germany, some admitting their previous roles while others kept them secret
Hitler leaves his Berghof mountain residence (left), where a guard is also seen standing outside (right). Hitler was born in Austria, but was based in Bavaria in southern Germany after World War I and attempted to seize power there in 1923
Members of the Reich Labour Service marching in Nuremberg in 1937. Formed in 1935, the labour service (RAD in German) was intended to keep the German workforce out of unemployment and indoctrinate people with Nazi military ideology
Hans Tidow, one of the officers in Hitler’s bodyguard unit, rides a horse during the 1930s. He was killed on September 12, 1939, just over a week after the war broke out when Britain and France declared war after Germany’s invasion of Poland
Mobile kitchens known as ‘goulash cannons’ are parked outside a building during the 1930s. Even the food supply carts bore the logo of the SS, the paramilitary group which imposed terror on Germany and the countries it occupied during the war
A view of the Reichstag building in Berlin in the 1930s. The seat of the German parliament, or Reichstag as it was then known, the building was set on fire in 1933 in a blaze which the Nazis used as an excuse to tighten their grip on power. Whether they had a role in the arson attack remains unclear. The building lay derelict during the Cold War but has since been renovated
This picture is captioned ‘four comrades’ and shows uniformed members of Hitler’s bodyguard unit posing for a photo in the snowy Grunewald forest, west of Berlin, during the winter