Nazi memorabilia on sale creates stir

December 2, 2018 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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The sale of over a dozen pieces of World War II Nazi memorabilia including a portrait of Hitler at a regional NSW auction has drawn criticism from the country’s Jewish community.

From the catalogue

The auction on Saturday by David G Smith Auctions in Bredbo, near Queanbeyan, featured Nazi medals, helmets, jewellery, and the Hitler portrait. It also included military items from Japan, America, and Britain.

Don Mahoney, the spokesman for David G Smith Auctions, defended the sale of the items, saying they formed a small part of a large sale of military items.

In his statement to the AAP Mahoney believed that some Australian politicians were known to collect Nazi memorabilia.

“I can’t mention names, but you would be shocked, I have sold Nazi memorabilia to solicitors, bank managers, accountants, and politicians over the years. They collect it because it’s part of history.”

Vic Alhadeff, NSW Jewish Board of Deputies chief executive, questioned why the items needed to be auctioned off.

He said: “The Nazis were pure evil and grotesque,

We question why an auction house and its buyers would think that that’s worth celebrating by trading and profiting from.”

Mr Mahoney said the items formed part of history, and he didn’t believe they were bought by current neo-Nazis.

“It’s terrible what happened to the Jewish people, absolutely shocking, but it happened in Europe, I’m fifth generation Australian, I care what happened to Australians,” he said.

From the catalogue

“The people who I tend to find hype it up, which is pretty sad, I find it’s nearly always Jewish people.

“People drive Mitsubishi cars in Australia, Mitsubishi aircraft bombed Australia and yet we’re supposed to go ‘oh no it’s terrible to sell a Swastika but its ok to sell anything Japanese’.”

The NSW National Party recently expelled about 20 young members amid an investigation into the infiltration of neo-Nazis into the organisation.

Anti-Defamation Commission chairman Dvir Abramovich said the sale of the Nazi memorabilia was outrageous.

“This grim showcase of pure evil will definitely delight Hitler worshippers. Grotesque and outrageous, it is a kick in the stomach to the victims, to the survivors who suffered and who lost relatives in the Holocaust, and to the Australian soldiers who died fighting to vanquish the Nazi regime.

The picture of Hitler, glorifying this brutal tyrant, is especially sickening and will probably end up in the hands of someone who will proudly hang it in their lounge, or curl up with it on a lonely night.

The Nazis committed monstrous crimes using the imagery and symbols being offered here, and trying to profit from these blood-stained items is abhorrent. At a time when white supremacist groups and racist violence are on the rise in Australia, this auction is particularly disturbing. Auction houses should not promote and display paraphernalia that represents genocide and unimaginable atrocities, and we call on all businesses to demonstrate moral and corporate responsibility and to immediately discontinue selling such items.

There should be no room for hate in our country, and it’s time for state and federal government to draw a line in the sand and to ban the sale of such materials.”

A public post featuring photographs of the items to be auctioned on the auction’s Facebook page drew both interest and criticism. Some wanted military memorabilia to be donated to war museums, while others were astonished by the number of Nazi memorabilia listed and called on Third Reich items to be destroyed.

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