The director of a Norwegian museum claimed yesterday to have discovered cartoons drawn by Adolf Hitler during the Second World War.
William Hakvaag, the director of a war museum in northern Norway, said he found the drawings hidden in a painting signed "A. Hitler" that he bought at an auction in Germany.
He found coloured cartoons of the characters Bashful and Doc from the 1937 Disney film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, which were signed A.H., and an unsigned sketch of Pinocchio as he appeared in the 1940 Disney film.
Hitler tried to make a living as an artist before his rise to power. While there was no independent confirmation yesterday that the drawings were the work of the Nazi leader, Hitler is known to have owned a copy of Snow White, the classic animated adaptation of a German fairy tale, and to have viewed it in his private cinema.
Mr Hakvaag, who said he had performed tests on the paintings which suggested that they dated from 1940, said: "I am 100 per cent sure that these are drawings by Hitler. If one wanted to make a forgery, one would never hide it in the back of a picture, where it might never be discovered."
The initials on the sketches, and the signature on the painting, matched other copies of Hitler's handwriting, he claimed.
"Hitler had a copy of Snow White," he said. "He thought this was one of the best movies ever made."
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Discoveries of Nazi-era memorabilia have repeatedly turned out to be mistaken or the result of a hoax. However, art attributed to Hitler continues to sell at auction, even if its provenance is far from complete.
Nineteen watercolours and two sketches said to be by Hitler were sold in Britain two years ago for a total of ?118,000.
The auction firm Jefferys said the seller did everything possible to authenticate the works.
The pictures of cottages and rural scenes were found in a farmhouse in Belgium and were believed to have been painted while Hitler was a young soldier in the country during the First World War.