Nazi artifacts at a news conference at the Holocaust museum in Buenos Aires / (photo credit: REUTERS/AGUSTIN MARCARIAN)
A Munich auction house has come under fire from Europe’s largest Jewish organization for once again selling Nazi memorabilia, including some of Adolf Hitler’s speaking notes.
Rabbi Menachem Margolin, head of the European Jewish Association (EJA), slammed Munich-based auction house Hermann Historica, saying he couldn’t get his “head around the sheer irresponsibility and insensitivity” of auctioning this memorabilia.
The news comes following the head of Germany’s domestic security agency warning of rising levels of antisemitism in the country.
“The head of the domestic security agency in Germany sounded the alarm less than a month ago about the alarming rise of antisemitism in Germany, we have had a gun attack at a synagogue in Hamburg and the far Right are on the march,” Margolin said in a statement. “It defies logic, decency and humanity for the very same auction house that came under fire less than a year ago for selling disgusting lots of Nazi memorabilia that they should do so again.”
In November 2019, the Hermann Historica auction house had also come under fire for having a collection of Nazi memorabilia up for auction, prompting widespread criticism from EJA and other organizations, who had begun petitioning European lawmakers to ban the practice.
That year, the items up for auction included such items as Adolf Hitler’s top hat and cigar box and a silver-plated copy of Mein Kampf that once belonged to senior Nazi Hermann Goering.
The contents of the November 2019 auction were purchased by Swiss-Lebanese entrepreneur Abdallah Chatilah, who donated them to Yad Vashem to use them however they wished.
“I cannot get my head around the sheer irresponsibility and insensitivity, in such a febrile climate, of selling items such as the ramblings of the world’s biggest killer of Jews to the highest bidder. What auctions like this do help legitimize Hitler enthusiasts who thrive on this sort of stuff.
“Last year, a miracle in the form of Mr. Abdallah Chatila stepped in. But we cannot rely on miracles going forwards,” Margolin explained.
“We understand that COVID-19 is rightly occupying the thoughts of governments and parliaments, but we cannot allow the virus of antisemitism to grow unchecked. This auction must be stopped and we urge the government to step in. We also ask our supporters not to engage or participate in any way with this unethical auction. The message must be sent that the further development of this ‘market’ is taboo and beyond the norms of acceptability.”