The Kehlsteinhaus, also known as the Eagle's Nest, is a villa for diplomatic receptions and a mountain retreat for Adolf Hitler built in 1938. There is a marble fireplace in the main room, which was Hitler's birthday gift from Italian dictator Benito Mussolini. The back wall of the fireplace shows two knights and the building completion date.

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What or who do these two mounted figures symbolize? Is there a story about them?

  • Hi Essen and welcome to History SE. Can we get a clearer picture? I can't actually see what is on the back wall. Sep 22, 2018 at 8:40
  • Thanks, @LarsBosteen! I photoshopped the picture a little, so maybe it's clearer now. There are also many images of the fireplace on web: google.com/search?q=kehlsteinhaus+fireplace&tbm=isch
    – Essen
    Sep 22, 2018 at 9:19
  • 1
    Given that both figures are the same (no distinctive features to distinguish one from the other) and the conspicuous absence of any identifying mark (caption, coat of arms, some distinctive ornament, etc.) I would vote for "Generic Medieval (Germanic if you like) knight Model I". Also, while nice and all, it is in a "hidden" enough place as not to assume that the identity of those two did not was of any significance.
    – SJuan76
    Sep 22, 2018 at 12:07
  • Why must they "symbolize" anything, rather than being just a piece of decoration suitable for a German mountain retreat?
    – jamesqf
    Sep 22, 2018 at 16:51

1 Answer 1


The kite shield illustrated, although most closely associated with the Normans because of its appearance on the Bayeaux Tapestry, is attested as early as the reign of Otto III from appearance in the Gospels of Otto III. Otto III is the grandson of the Otto I, who is generally regarded as the first Holy Roman Emperor. This is especially true for someone like Hitler who celebrated the Germanic nature of the Empire, as Otto I was the first Saxon Emperor, and ruled a realm not dissimilar to that of the later middle ages and early modern period

This makes the fireplace an allusion to Hitler's First Reich. Although the kite shields are possibly anachronistic by a generation, they are definitely associated with the Saxon Dynasty founded by Otto I.

Although not definitive, the best images I could find on the web strongly suggest that the knight figures are the same image, mirror reversed. If so, they are both representative of Otto I in my opinion.

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