News and Press Releases

Seattle Area Resident Arrested After Seeking Buyer for Bookmark Stolen in Spain in 2002

November 26, 2008

CHRISTIAN POPESCU, 37, of Kenmore, Washington, was charged today in U.S. District Court in Seattle with Sale or Receipt of Stolen Goods. POPESCU was arrested late yesterday, after setting up a deal to sell a gold bookmark which allegedly was first given to Adolf Hitler by his mistress Eva Braun. The bookmark was stolen in the fall of 2002, from an auction house in Madrid, Spain just days before it was to be sold at auction. While most of the other items taken in the “smash and grab” robbery have been recovered, this is the first time in six years that the artifact has surfaced.

According to the complaint filed in federal court, in August 2008, a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officer working in Seattle got word that someone was trying to sell a golden bookmark that had belonged to Adolf Hitler. Investigators were able to learn more about the item’s history. The bookmark allegedly was a gift from Hitler’s mistress, Eva Braun after Hitler’s armies were defeated in the battle of Stalingrad in 1943. The bookmark was intended to cheer Hitler, and is inscribed in part: “My Adolf, don’t worry... (the defeat)... was only an inconvenience that will not break your certainty of victory.” The bookmark was to be auctioned in October 2002, by a Madrid, Spain, auction house, when three eastern European thieves stole the bookmark and several pieces of jewelry. The bookmark apparently had previously belonged to the family of one of Hitler’s armed forces chiefs, who was executed following the Nuremberg trials.

Using a confidential source, agents with ICE set up to “purchase” the artifact yesterday in Bellevue, Washington. POPESCU was arrested when he arrived with the bookmark to make the deal.

Sale or Receipt of Stolen Goods is punishable by up to ten years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

The charges contained in the complaint are only allegations. A person is presumed innocent unless and until he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

The case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney’s Thomas Woods and Rich Cohen.

For additional information or to obtain a photo of the bookmark, please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney’s Office, at (206) 553-4110 or email her at

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