his is a strange one. It appears that a toilet from one of Hitler’s most luxurious yachts now has a new home: a New Jersey auto shop. Yes, customers who stop in to Greg’s Auto Repair for a car repair can also view a (disgusting) piece of history in an old toilet that the owner acquired from a friend.
So, what’s the full story behind how the commode of one of history’s most reviled men ended up in this Florence, New Jersey auto shop? Well, it appears that the owner, Greg Kofeldt, inherited it from the previous owner, Sam Carlani. Carlani, in turn, got the toilet from his friend Harry Doan, a shipyard owner who somehow ended up with the yacht after the war ended and it was transported to the US. Doan briefly charged .25 cents (illegally) for visitors to view the yacht before his friend Sam told him that he was in need of a toilet and Doan said he had one he could sell. The rest is history. But, what about the real history around the yacht?
Come to Greg’s auto shop and he might tell you the story while you get your oil change done. But, thanks to an investigative reporter for the Jewish life magazine, Tablet, we have the story. It goes something like this: the yacht was called the Aviso Grille and it was the Führer’s largest yacht (nearly 500 feet long and with room for 250 passengers) and complete with a private room for Eva Braun, Hitler’s long-term companion. A significant historical event even happened aboard the Aviso Grille, it was the site where Grand Admiral Karl Dönitz announced Hitler’s death and his assumption of command of Germany.
According to Kofeldt, Hitler planned to ride the yacht down the Thames in London to the Windsor Palace after he had invaded and conquered the English capital. Thankfully, that never transpired and shortly after the war the various parts of the Aviso Grille were scattered around the world, some of them ending up in the states (like Kofeldt’s toilet) and other parts in Europe, including an American Legion Post in Florence which has one of the tables from the ship and other pieces scattered around the UK.
So, if you happen to be near the small town of Florence, New Jersey when your car breaks down and you are in need of a car repair or an oil change, why not stop by Greg’s Auto Repair auto shop and use the toilet? Actually, the toilet isn’t actually operational, but you might ask to at least see it if you are interested…