ACT auction house sells large collection of Nazi memorabilia
Advertisement

ACT auction house sells large collection of Nazi memorabilia

Dozens of pieces of Nazi memorabilia were sold at an ACT auction house on Sunday, shocking a Canberra rabbi who said items from the infamous regime had no place in modern society.

Dozens of pieces of Nazi regalia have sold for top dollar at two ACT auctions in the past six weeks, prompting a Canberra rabbi to call the listings an "atrocity".

A Hitler Youth knife, Luftwaffe medals, stamps featuring Adolf Hitler and several items adorned with swastikas were sold at the Auction Barn in Fyshwick in two separate auctions.

Symbols of hate: Part of a collection of Nazi memorabilia which was auctioned off in the ACT over the past two months.

Symbols of hate: Part of a collection of Nazi memorabilia which was auctioned off in the ACT over the past two months.Credit:The Auction Barn

The Sunday Canberra Times understands the items were sold to the auction house by a Canberra family with German origins.

ACT Jewish Community rabbi Alon Meltzer said he was disgusted to find people were profiting from selling Nazi artefacts.

Advertisement
Reflecting ideology: Items of Nazi memorabilia sold at an ACT auction house on Sunday.

Reflecting ideology: Items of Nazi memorabilia sold at an ACT auction house on Sunday.Credit:The Auction Barn

He called on elected officials to denounce the auction and make it clear there was no place for such sales in Canberra.

"It's an atrocity. As a rabbi we deal with people who have survived the holocaust, who are now older, who really carry the burden of that emotional strife with them every single day - the fact they don't have their families round them," Mr Meltzer said.

"So to see a place like Canberra, which is a beautiful melting pot of cultures and of diversity, with a lot of tolerance and respect, to see that community have something like this occurring is a blight to the memory of those who were killed."

Auction Barn auction co-ordinator Stan Jordan said the business did not sell items which were considered unethical.

Weapon: Items of Nazi memorabilia sold at an ACT auction house on Sunday.

Weapon: Items of Nazi memorabilia sold at an ACT auction house on Sunday.Credit:The Auction Barn

"[We don't sell] stuff we think we can't sell and then there's stuff which isn't moral to sell," he said.

"[But this] is exactly the same as what we have in the War Memorial. It's just their side of the story isn't it?"

Mr Meltzer said the Nazi regime had inflicted pain on the entire world and the selling of memorabilia associated with the regime was disgraceful.

"While it is a piece of our history and something we should never forget, items like this have no place in a world that is calling for tolerance, calling for peace," he said.

The sale of Nazi merchandise has been restricted or banned in a number of European countries including Germany, Austria and France, while a number of prominent auction houses such as Sotheby's and Christie's won't sell it.

The online auction site eBay similarly has strict rules about what relics of the Third Reich can and cannot be sold through it.

Auctions of Nazi memorabilia in New South Wales and South Australia in the past few years have attracted sharp criticism from national Jewish groups.

Sydney Jewish Museum resident historian professor Konrad Kwiet said auctions of Nazi artefacts were common and lucrative around the world, predominantly in America.

"SS helmets are being sold for $5000," he said. People are paying a high price for these memorabilia ... in most towns in America you can get everything if you pay the right price."

Australian National University Strategic and Defence Studies Centre senior lecturer Dr Garth Pratten although he wasn't an expert on badges and buckles, he believed the majority of the collection was Luftwaffe and Hitler Youth artefacts.

"My guess is that most of it relates to the young man in the photo album," he said. He is a member of the Luftwaffe [and] among the items is a Luftwaffe ceremonial dagger, a Luftwaffe cap badge and a Luftwaffe parachutist badge.

"A lot of the items with Nazi symbology on them - the "S" belt buckle, several of the brassards, one of the knives, are Hitler Youth items.

"The Hitler Youth was the only approved youth organisation in Germany from 1933 to 1945 [so] if we are to assume that this is the collection of personal items of the Luftwaffe man, it is highly likely that he was a member of Hitler Youth."

Ben Westcott is a reporter at The Canberra Times.

Most Viewed in National

Loading
Advertisement