Nazi memorabilia being sold sparks anger

Published: 29 June 2017

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Nazi era memorabilia is being flogged across Australia for thousands of dollars, and some within the Jewish community are furious with the profiteering.

While it is illegal to sell Nazi memorabilia in Austria, France and Germany, Australia does not restrict the sale of such items, and people are cashing in.

Propaganda pictures, holocaust artefacts, and rings worn by SS officers are among the Nazi items being sold at art auctions and on trading websites such as Gumtree.

NSW is seeing a large amount of the traffic, with one Parramatta man selling a 1936 ‘Nazi Olympic Torch’ for $7,400 on Gumtree.

NSW Jewish Board of Deputies chief executive Vic Alhadeff has branded the selling of Nazi items as insensitive, and says they should be donated to instead.

“Nazi memorabilia should be donated to historical museums­ or war memorials,” Mr Alhadeff said.

“Putting such items onto the market inevitably promotes the horrendous regime which the Nazis represented.”

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Big Nazi political ring

Charles Leski, 65, is a Jewish man whose parents survived the holocaust, and he works as an auction house Mossgreen specialist auctioneer.

Mr Leski defended the sale of certain items from that era, yet recognised that with these kinds of things, there is a definitive line that could not, and should not, be crossed.

Speaking to The Daily Telegraph, he said that we can’t afford to ignore what happened in those 12 years, and that people who collected items such as German stamps should not be stopped from collecting them.

Yet he drew the line clearly.

“Things like an SS ring properly belongs in a historical collection in a publicly accessible museum,” he said.

“We judge each item on its merit and have turned down items in the past.”

Treasure hunters estimate there is still around $37 billion worth of Nazi loot that has disappeared since the fall of the Third Reich, recognising that some of it has made its way to Australia.

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Nazi military decorations