Auction (illustration)
Auction (illustration)iStock

The auction of a collection of Nazi linked jewels by a major auction house is going ahead despite criticism by leading Jewish groups.

British auction house Christie’s announced on Tuesday it will not cancel the planned auction of the $150 million jewelry collection belonging to Heidi Horton, The Guardian reported. Her husband, Helmut Horten, made a fortune buying businesses from Jews who were forced to sell in Nazi Germany and “aryanizing” them.

The American Jewish Committee (AJC) noted that one of the most pressing challenges to address the lasting impact of the Holocaust is providing justice for the massive looting of the property of its victims.

“There are still many barriers to securing restitution. It is even more difficult when unscrupulous businessmen took advantage of aryanization laws and the desperate needs of Jews fleeing the Nazis to amass their fortunes,” AJC said. “This was the case for Helmut Horten, whose wealth was achieved this way.”

Horten’s fortune allowed his now-deceased widow, Heidi Horton, to put together a jewelry collection valued at $150 million.

The collection will soon be auctioned by Christie’s, with AJC noting that “Christie’s and Heidi Horten’s foundation stand to benefit from this sale.”

“It is not enough that this sale will benefit a charitable foundation or that Christie’s will make an unspecified donation for Holocaust education,” AJC said. “Instead, the auction should be put on hold until a serious effort is made to determine what portion of this wealth came from Nazi victims. Once determined, it should instead be directed to support the needy and infirm Holocaust survivors who are still among us and the educational programs that tell their stories.