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Dutch Nazi Camp Cancels Barbed Wire Sale

A foundation responsible for former Nazi concentration camp cancelled planned sale of barbed wire pieces due to outrage .
By Rachel Hirshfeld
First Publish: 11/28/2012, 5:48 PM

barbed wire
barbed wire
Flash 90

The foundation responsible for a former Nazi concentration camp in the Netherlands cancelled the planned sale of pieces of barbed wire that had been dug up at the site, due to outrage from Jewish groups.

Kamp Amersfoort Foundation director Harry Ruijs said he no longer intends to sell the 50 pieces of wire for 10 euros, 13 dollars, apiece to finance an exhibition of artifacts discovered at the site.

"It seems we have hurt some people and it was not our intention at all," Ruijs told AFP. "That's why we decided to halt the sale."

Ruijs said the foundation originally decided to sell the barbed wire pieces, mounted on a display board, to cover the 500 euros it would cost to put on the exhibition to “draw attention to the importance of physical evidence whose preservation costs money.” 

Jewish organizations expressed outrage on Tuesday over the plans to mount and sell the barbed wire pieces.

"Barbed wire is the archetypical symbol of the concentration camp. It should not be put up for sale at all," said Esther Voet, deputy director of the Dutch Center for Documentation and Information on Israel (CIDI).

"Imagine if some of these pieces of barbed wire are ultimately bought by a neo-Nazi. That would be horrible," Voet said.

A spokeswoman for the Netherlands's Central Jewish Council, who spoke on the condition on anonymity, said that idea was "completely tasteless and lacking in respect for the victims and their families."

Between 35,000 and 40,000 people passed through Kamp Amersfoort during World War II. At least half of them were deported to Nazi death camps, including Buchenwald.

"We'll now give away the barbed wire pieces to those who ask for it and had relatives who passed through the camp," Ruijs said, according to AFP.