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Hitler's Typewriter captured towards the end of World War 2 in Austria.
Hitler's Typewriter, captured towards the end of World War 2 in Austria.

Hitler's Typewriter, MLK's Jail Door

Field review by the editors.

Bessemer, Alabama

The most infamous artifact in the Bessemer Hall of History Museum is what it calls, simply, "Hitler's Typewriter." The infernal machine -- a manual German-made Groma from the 1930s -- was captured by the Allies at Adolf Hitler's mountain hideout, the "Eagle's Nest," near Saltzburg, Austria, at the end of World War II. A GI from Bessemer acquired it from one of the soldiers who inventoried the Eagle's Nest booty, and it eventually found its way into the Bessemer Museum's basement, where it was discovered by Curator Mable Waites in the mid-1980s. The typewriter still works, but the Museum has never been able to find an ink ribbon that fits it, frustrating generations of visitors who'd hoped to type their own American names.

Close-up of the keyboard on an old, black metal typewriter.

Although it's extremely unlikely that the Nazi Warlord did any of his own typing, it is possible that he dictated evil orders and memos that were then neatly tap-tapped on this machine.

An artifact more important to USA domestic history is a comparative newcomer to the Museum: the Cell Block Door of Martin Luther King Jr. It arrived in 2013, taken from the old Jefferson County Jail in Bessemer, where MLK was briefly incarcerated in 1967. One of the arresting officers saved the door when the jail was renovated in 2008, and later donated it to the Museum along with King's incarceration report and some telegrams of encouragement that he received while in jail.

Hitler was imprisoned only once, but the Civil Rights leader was jailed 29 separate times.

Also see: Hitler is Alive!

Hitler's Typewriter, MLK's Jail Door

Bessemer Hall of History Museum

1905 Alabama Ave., Bessemer, AL
Bessemer Hall of History Museum. I-20 exit 112. Drive east two miles on 18th St. Turn left onto Alabama Ave., just before the train tracks. Drive two blocks; museum on right.
T-Sa 9-3 (Call to verify) Local health policies may affect hours and access.
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
Save to My Sights

Nearby Offbeat Places

One-Millionth Pullman-Standard Freight CarOne-Millionth Pullman-Standard Freight Car, Bessemer, AL - < 1 mi.
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In the region:
Birthplace of Veterans Day, Birmingham, AL - 12 mi.

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