A Montreal auctioneer has put four sketches by Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler up for sale, sparking outrage and condemnation in Canada's Jewish community.

Iegor de Saint Hippolyte said Tuesday that the private auction, which also includes two Christmas messages from the Nazi leader, would take place on July 19 and last only for a few minutes.

He said the current owner of the six pieces wishes to remain anonymous, and he declined to say how much he expected the sale to bring.

Asked about the morality of selling articles by and from Hitler, he said: "I am simply doing my duty, which is to transmit history to other people and to preserve objects that are important for humanity."

Hitler, German chancellor from 1933 to 1945, unleashed World War II when his armies invaded Poland in 1939. His racial policies led to the Holocaust, the organized massacre of some 6 million European Jews, largely at concentration camps such as Auschwitz.

The Canadian Jewish Congress said the sale of the sketches and of the two messages from Hitler was offensive.

"This is the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz and the end of Hitler's regime, and there are still ... 15,000 in Canada who will be legitimately outraged by this desecration of the memory of what they suffered and of those who died," Max Bernard, an honorary vice-president of the Congress, said in a statement.

The four architectural sketches on auction in Montreal were made in charcoal, colored pencil and ink. One includes corrections Hitler is believed to have made to the design for an opera house in Linz, Austria, near where he was born, Saint Hippolyte said.

The opera house was designed by Hitler's chief architect Albert Speer, who subsequently became Germany's wartime armaments minister. Speer was tried at Nuremberg after the war and sentenced to 20 years in prison.

The two holiday greeting cards are dated 1935 and 1938, and bear Hitler's personal seal and signature.

Saint Hippolyte, who is affiliated with the Paris auctioneers Drouot, said he is aware of the backlash against the auction, but intends to press ahead.

He said he was considering whether to donate his auction fees to a humanitarian organization.

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