THE Hitler Trophy has been officially unveiled in its new home by the son of the man who put a huge dent in the Nazi propaganda machine.
Arnold Bentley was a member of the England team that won a golf tournament at the 1936 Berlin Olympics that had been designed to highlight German superiority.
The prize – known as the Hitler Trophy – has finally been brought back to Hesketh Golf Club, where Bentley was a distinguished member, after a long search.
Arnold – and his brother Harry – were the most celebrated brothers in amateur golf in the years before World War II, racking up a wide range of trophies.
But the one donated by Adolf Hitler was probably the most unusual.
Now it has returned to its spiritual home, where a new resting place was unveiled by Men’s Captain Stephen Mentha.
Arnold’s son Bob said: “It gives me great pleasure to be with you all for the unveiling of this wonderful trophy at Hesketh, where I feel it should have been, long before now.”
For club President Derek Holden the unveiling was the culmination of a lengthy campaign to see the trophy reunited with much of Bentley’s other golfing memorabilia.
Derek, who was one of Arnold’s closest golfing friends at the Hesketh, said: “It was always a disappointment to Arnold that due to a series of unusual circumstances he was denied the opportunity of bringing the trophy to Hesketh, so I am proud to have been partly responsible for remedying that situation.”
The trophy, which was bought by the club at auction, is now on prominent display in the main lounge.
The 1936 Games in Berlin became notorious for the way the host nation attempted to hijack the event for its own propaganda purposes. After the success of Jesse Owens, with four gold medals, had done so much to undermine this, ‘The Golf Prize of Nations’ was played in Baden-Baden in an attempt to salvage German pride.
The host team looked on their way to victory after three rounds – so much so that Hitler was heading down to present the prize – only for Bentley and teammate Tom Thirsk to turn the tables for a famous victory.
In Germany records of the event appear to have been conveniently air-brushed out.
Curiously a small potted fir tree was presented to each of the winning team; Bentley’s was planted and still flourishes on a sandhill behind the flagstaff at the club.
It became known as the Hitler tree and during the war years members are reputed to have relieved themselves against it as they departed in the ‘black out’.