In honor of Veteran’s Day, Witherell’s Auction House presents Family Heirlooms of Distinguished WWII Generals McAuliffe and McNarney, a landmark online auction event spanning today through November 17th.  Leading extraordinary lives of honor and valor, their stories come to life through their personal belongings and treasures brought forth by the niece of General McAuliffe and the granddaughter of General McNarney. 

“This is a unique opportunity to own a piece of history and honor two of the most courageous and legendary World War II Generals,” said Brian Witherell, cofounder of Witherell’s and guest appraisal expert on PBS’s popular series, “Antiques Roadshow.” “Their remarkable stories of leadership and bravery will give you chills, and when you look at their mementos, you can see and sense what they stood for and the sacrifices they made for Americans and survivors of World War II.”

General Anthony Clement “Nuts” McAuliffe is known for his gutsy, one-word reply to a German ultimatum during the Battle of the Bulge. Surrounded and under attack, German messengers demanded they surrender. McAuliffe, who didn’t use profanity, reportedly muttered, “Aw, nuts.” While he considered the proper wording for a formal reply, the men under his command suggested his initial response would be appropriate. McAuliffe had his staff type up a simple, one-word answer to the ultimatum: “Nuts!” They were then bombed and attacked as they defended the small town of Bastogne until reinforcements arrived days later. McAuliffe and his men courageously halted the German advance. After the war, McAuliffe recommended the military be racially integrated and was appointed to study race relations at the Army War College in Pennsylvania.

General Joseph Taggart McNarney, who served in World War I and II, was a four-star general in the Army and Air Force. When he assumed command in Europe, he faced the overwhelming challenge of the displacement of millions or people - Jewish survivors freed by the Nazis along with refugees from nearly every country in Europe. Their pre-war homes were gone and many survivors still faced persecution as the returned to their homeland. McNarney earned praise from all sides and the gratitude of Jewish survivors and displaced persons who presented him with gifts of recognition, including a watercolor painting that is up for auction. McNarney was honored for his humanity and compassion.