From the November 2010 issue of Harper's Magazine.
By Adolf Hitler and Natascha Hoffmeyer (Trans.)
From a September 13, 1924, letter to Jakob Werlin, a Mercedes-Benz car salesman, from Adolf Hitler. At the time of the letter, Hitler was writing Mein Kampf while serving a thirteen-month sentence in Landsberg Prison for his involvement in the Beer Hall Putsch. In July 2010, this letter and several other documents from Hitler’s time in prison were sold at auction in Fürth, Germany, for $33,400. Translated from the German by Natascha Hoffmeyer.
Dear Mr. Werlin!
After reflecting upon our conversation today, I would like to ask you, dear Mr. Werlin, to perhaps intercede for me in two ways. Generally, I am convinced that an 11/40 would suit my present needs. The only thing that is perhaps influencing me is the fact that it runs 300 rotations faster than the 16/50. I would be grateful if you could let me know in your next letter whether you think an rpm of 2250 isn't so high that a car might suffer in the short run.
As I said, this is the only thing that makes me cautious about the 11/40, because I will not be able to afford a new car in two or three years and I cannot take the time every few years to find better, more lucrative work. However, I would like to ask you to perhaps also inquire into what kind of a rebate I would get with either a 16/50 or a 11/40. Also whether there is an 11/40 available in gray with wire-spoke wheels.
The difficulty for me, of course, is that -- even in the case of my release on October 1 -- larger revenues from my book will not be available until mid-December, so I am forced to ask for an advance or loan. It goes without saying that several thousand marks make a difference, as I also have to pay my court and legal costs immediately, which are already making my hair stand on end. Thus, I sincerely ask that you put in a good word for me, since my chance of a purchase genrally depends on it.
In any event, I would like to ask you to reserve the gray car you in have in Munich until I have clarity regarding my fate (probation?). I will let you know immediately whether I will be released in October and whether I will be able to buy a car.
Yours most respectfully,