Historic WWII document part of upcoming Witherell’s online auction
A famous surrender ultimatum document sent by a German commander to a U.S. Army general during the Battle of Bulge in World War II is among the items to be put up for bid by Witherell’s auction house in Sacramento.
The document is part of an 82-lot auction that also includes a draft of the Potsdam Proclamation, a World War II bomber jacket and an 18th century Persian ax blade.
The items will be on public display from 1 to 5 p.m. Thursday at the Witherell’s Annex, 1925 C St., in Sacramento. The “Firearms and Militaria” online auction runs from Wednesday through Jan. 25.
The surrender document was sent by German Gen. Heinrich Freiherr von Lüttwitz to U.S. Army Brigadier Gen. Anthony McAuliffe, acting commander of the significantly outnumbered 101st Airborne Division dug in at Bastogne, Belgium.
In ornate language, the document delivered to McAuliffe on Dec. 22, 1944, tells the American general that his troops are surrounded and seeks surrender within two hours. McAuliffe famously replied with his own message: “NUTS!”
Despite heavy bombardment by the German Luftwaffe, the American forces held Bastogne and were reinforced four days later by the U.S. 4th Armored Division ahead of U.S. Gen. George Patton’s 3rd Army.
McAuliffe was immediately awarded the Distinguished Service Cross and subsequently promoted to the rank of major general.
The Sacramento auction house said the surrender document is being sold by a member of the McAuliffe family. McAuliffe died in 1975.
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