Following the controversial auction of Nazi memorabilia by Hermann Historica in Munich last week that was raised by the European Jewish Association and let to massive uproar and media attention, it has emerged that a prominent Lebanese businessman, Mr. Abdallah Chatila, picked up on it and has bought over 600,000 euros of it with the sole purpose of giving it to the Jewish community to do with it as it sees fit.
Besides the top hat belonging to Hitler and the rare edition of Mein Kampf, Chatila also bought the personal Fuhrer's cigar box, a silver frame offered to SS commander Ulrich Graf, several handwritten letters to his childhood friend August Kubizek, a box to silver music, Edda Göring's baptismal gift in 1938, or the typewriter Traudl Junge, Hitler's assistant, used to capture the Nazi leader's texts.
"I first wanted to buy these objects to destroy them,” Chatila told a French newspaper, before deciding instead to give them away to the main fundraising organization of the Jewish community to do with them as they see fit.
In a statement today, chairman of the European Jewish Association, Rabbi Menachem Margolin said, “We believe that the trade in such items is morally unjustifiable and it seemed, given the uproar and outrage that led up and following the auction and acres of media coverage, that we were not alone.
“We were not prepared however, in this cynical world in which we live, to expect an act of such kindness, such generosity and such solidarity as demonstrated by Mr. Chatila. It is clear he understood our aggravation and hurt at the sale, and decided to do something about it in a way that nobody foresaw. We greatly appreciate his understanding that such items have no place on the market, and should ultimately be destroyed. But that he chose to give the items to Jews shows a remarkable conscience and understanding.
“We thank Mr. Chatila on behalf of our Association, our members and the hundreds of communities that we represent. Additionally, we are inviting him to attend an upcoming delegation to Auschwitz that we are organizing for 100 MPs from across the continent to see and learn first-hand where the Nazi ideology leads. Mr. Chatila’s inspiring act is a story that deserves to be told at the highest levels, and we invite him, as our guest, to do so there where we will present him with an award for his act.
“The example set by Mr. Chatila is one that deserves as much attention as possible, we thank him from the bottom of our hearts for showing the world that an act of righteousness such as this has the power to literally and metaphorically burn the dark Nazi past away.”