SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - A North County man renowned as a collector and dealer of historic artifacts is about to sell off perhaps the most controversial and most lucrative parts of his collection -- a series of personal items and clothing owned by Adolf Hitler.
Craig Gottlieb buys and sells items through his website, HistoryHunter.com. His search for rare items, particularly focused on military history, has taken him around the world.
Gottlieb became known as a weapons expert featured often on the hit TV show "Pawn Stars" and also starred in the Netflix series "Battlefield Recovery.”
In 2014, Gottlieb purchased the Hitler collection from another private dealer. It includes a hat which Hitler is seen wearing in numerous photographs, a uniform, and several medals. The items were originally brought to the United States by a U.S. Army soldier who took them home as souvenirs after World War II.
"They're so important to preserve because they're so relevant to who Hitler was and what he did," Gottlieb told 10News during an interview while showing off his private collection.
Word of the auction has brought some criticism, however.
Gottlieb, who is of Jewish descent, has been accused of profiting off the Holocaust. Some have suggested he should destroy the items, instead.
"It's very understandable, the criticism that these artifacts are controversial. Why would someone want to collect these? And it's a fair question. But again, these artifacts that we're going to be selling on Saturday transcend that,” said Gottlieb.
Gottlieb argues that it is important to preserve these historical items, making the case that decades from now they will be important to help connect people to one of the darkest periods of human history.
"To suggest that because Hitler was a terrible human being that we should obliterate all of the things that are associated with him is ludicrous. It's very short-sighted, as well,” Gottlieb said.
The items are expected to sell for more than $2 million.