A forthcoming sale of Nazi-related items by a Queensland, Australia auction house is being denounced by Jewish groups.
While Jewish leaders are describing the auction as “sickening,” the Gold Coast-based auction house is defending its decision to hold the auction, claiming that it is important to remember the past, the Brisbane Times reported.
Twenty-two pieces of Nazi memorabilia will be listed by Danielle Elizabeth Auctions, including an Ordnungspolizei (“order police”) uniform containing the SS symbol that is expected to sell for up to $1,500, sleeves embroidered with eagles and swastikas and swastika and skull pins from Waffen-SS hats.
Also for sale is a Star of David armband that would have been worn by Jews in either the Krakow or Drzewica ghetto.
The managing director of the auction house, Dustin Sweeny, described the seller as a Queensland octogenarian who began collecting World War II memorabilia after living in Nuremberg in the 1960s. In frail health, he decided to sell off some of his collection.
Sweeny said the main buyers of World War II artifacts are museums and argued that what the auction house was doing was legal and if people did not like it, they should call on the government to change the law.
“You can’t erase the past, and nor should you, and if it gets erased, everyone forgets what happens and it’s more likely to happen again,” he said. “We’re not promoting anything, we’re not promoting any ideology, it’s just military artefacts, and they’re not illegal.”
He added, ‘We believe in the historical value of them.”
The head of a main Australian Jewish advocacy organization disagreed and called the sale “sickening” and accused the auction house of making money from “history’s darkest crime.”
“The Holocaust is over, but the dangerous ideology and culture that fuelled the extermination of millions endures in today’s Australia,” Anti-Defamation Commission Chair Dvir Abramovich told the Times. “These objects may end up in the hands of Third Reich worshippers who will proudly display them in their homes and use them to recruit new members to their dangerous cause.”
Abramovich has been urging Australian governments at the federal and state level to ban the sale of Nazi memorabilia.