Auschwitz theft reveals “Naz-ebay” trade in Third Reich memorabilia

The sickening theft and mutilation of the “Arbeit Macht Frei” sign from Auschwitz raises once again the spectre of the sordid trade in Nazi memorabilia.

The sickening theft and mutilation of the “Arbeit Macht Frei” sign from Auschwitz raises once again the spectre of the sordid trade in Nazi memorabilia. A simple google search reveals just how easy it is in the online world to buy, sell and browse all manner of items from the Third Reich.

One such site, Militaria-net, styles itself as “one of the worlds premier sellers of fine quality Third Reich related items including medals, badges, insignia, field equipment, uniforms, daggers, CD’s, Posters and more”, a “‘one stop’ shop” for all your Nazi needs, with over 1000 items on sale.

It boasts of offering a “comprehensive range of reproduction Third Reich Militaria and related items”, ideal for “collectors and re-enactors, museums, film/TV, and Theatre Groups” – though the complete lack of vetting means anyone can buy from them. Within a few clicks, anyone on the planet is able to buy, for example, an “iconic brownshirt worn by Hitlers Stormtroopers”: “100% cotton shirt with french cuffs, silver pebbeled buttons and belt hooks”, complete with “wool multi piece swastika armband for that early NSDAP look”.

Even convicted Holocaust-denier David Irving is cashing in. According to the Telegraph, he too has set up a website selling Nazi memorabilia, reportedly selling strands of Adolf Hitler’s hair, Hitler’s walking stick, and a goblet and spoon given as a christening present by Heinrich Himmler to Hermann Goering’s daughter, described as “unacceptable” by Dr Shimon Samuels, director of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre, who told the Daily Mail:

“This Naz-eBay is extremely distasteful to the point of sick. There’s a market out there for Nazi memorabilia. If this is done to glorify Hitler, as I imagine it is, then it is unacceptable.”

Trade in Nazi memorabilia is banned in Austria, France, Poland and Germany, where it is also illegal to deny the Holocaust, display the Swastika, own a copy of Mein Kampf or give the Sieg Heil salute. In Britain, home to many memorabilia websites, none of these are a criminal offence.

18 Responses to “Auschwitz theft reveals “Naz-ebay” trade in Third Reich memorabilia”

  1. Mark

    @Shamik Das: if only you knew someone close to the Justice Secretary.

  2. Shamik Das

    Legal to sell Nazi tatt in UK —> RT @leftfootfwd: Auschwitz theft reveals “Naz-ebay” trade in Third Reich memorabilia: http://is.gd/5wfq9

  3. Anon E Mouse

    Shamik – Good story – I never had a clue this type of stuff was sold openly.

  4. Agnieszka Tokarska

    jeden z moich ulubionych i najlepszych blogów w UK o: Auschwitz theft reveals “Naz-ebay” trade…| Left Foot Forward – http://bit.ly/5Eqyy3

  5. Silent Hunter

    I know!

    Let’s pretend that “history” didn’t happen – then we can forget all those nasty things we fought a world war over.

    The Nazis HAPPENED! Get over it! . . . BUT don’t FORGET IT!

    Trying to brand historians who have an interest in the Third Reich as somehow being ‘closet racists’ is pathetic.

    I have a model of a Me109 which sports a Swastika . . . does that make me a racist?

    You people really need to get a life, if the trade in historical artefacts gets you ‘this’ worked up – It would be good if you spent half as much time trying to bring actual war criminals like Tony Blair and his “war” cabinet to justice.

  6. Shamik Das

    David Irving IS a racist. He is a convicted holocaust denier.

    Leaving historians aside, I’d like to know how it is acceptable for someone to buy, collect, wear Nazi memorabilia.

    It is SICKENING.

  7. Liz McShane

    Silent Hunter – “The Nazis HAPPENED! Get over it! . . . BUT don’t FORGET IT!” It is not something to get over.

    ‘Historians who have an interest in the Third Reich’ is one thing, but racists who cloak themselves with the veneer of respectability is something else entirely and people that should be constantly challenged.

  8. Silent Hunter

    Leaving historians aside, I’d like to know how it is acceptable for someone to buy, collect, wear Nazi memorabilia.

    Hello Shamik,

    Agreed; David Irving IS a racist; but it’s because of the things he says . . . not the collecting of Nazi memorabilia.

    So is it OK for ‘historians’ to collect Third Reich items or isn’t it in your view? Let’s NOT ‘leave them aside’ since that was the point I was making. BTW; I don’t consider David Irving to be a historian. He’s a racist d*ckhead who deserves all the opprobrium he gets.

    In answer to your question, I personally don’t see anything wrong in buying or collecting anything to do with the second world war, including Nazi items, I also don’t see a problem in those harmless folk who like to dress as soldiers of the Werhmacht & US Marine Corps and re-enact WW2 battles in their spare time . . . or are they also racists?

    So are all Muslims terrorists because of 9/11? I don’t think so, do you?

    Liz, (no relation to Dennis, I hope)

    I agree, racists who “cloak” themselves in the veneer of respectability” should be exposed and fought against – that’s the point I was making – it is ludicrously simplistic to tar everyone who has a passing interest in the WW2 or WW1 for that matter (the two generally go together for collectors and historians) as ALL being Nazi’s or racists; I would refer you to my point about ALL Muslims being terrorists.

    Just change a few words in your statement and we have . . .

    ‘Muslims who have an interest in the Fundamentalist Islamic Teaching’ is one thing, but terrorists who cloak themselves with the veneer of respectability is something else entirely and people that should be constantly challenged.

    You see how easy it is to include a whole section of society within a sweeping generalisation?

    THAT’S the point.
    That’s why it’s ludicrously childish to tar everyone who has an interest in military history as being Nazi sympathisers.

    BTW – no one on this left leaning site seems to want to address the whole ‘Tony Blair IS a WAR CRIMINAL’ thing.

    Why is that?

  9. Silent Hunter

    Forgive me, but I should have said at the start that the desecration (that’s what it is after all) of the Auschwitz site is quite appalling and I hope that the men who did this are suitably punished. Anyone who would condone this type of behaviour is not a “historian” nor are they interested in history, if they can countenance such a crime against the memory of the victims of the Nazi Holocaust.

    Those who fail to learn the lessons of history are doomed to make the same mistakes.

    The Swastika should be a warning to us all as to how easy it is for “fundamentalists” of any persuasion to hijack people with weak intellects and persuade them that a minority group are the cause of ALL the problems they face.

    The phrase “British jobs for British workers” springs readily to mind.

    Now THAT, was sickening!

  10. Silent Hunter

    I take it Shamik & Liz that your silence on the matter now means that you concede the point that I was making?

    In particular the “British jobs for British workers” statement by a Labour PM being “sickening”.

  11. Liz McShane

    Silent hunter – apologies for the silence!

    I think what Gordon Brown said re British jobs etc was stupid and crass and something that he probably regrets.

    Re denis – no relation he’s a Mac ( normally a Scottish derivation) whereas Mc is normally Irish . You learn something new every day!

  12. Shamik Das

    Silent Hunter, my apologies for drifting offline overnight, to get some, y’know, sleep! You are of course right about the “British jobs for British workers” line, there’s not much I can add. On historians, there may well be legitimate reasons for them to research, study and learn from, but should anyone on the planet be allowed to buy this stuff?

    As the director of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre, Dr Shimon Samuels, said:

    “This Naz-eBay is extremely distasteful to the point of sick. There’s a market out there for Nazi memorabilia. If this is done to glorify Hitler, as I imagine it is, then it is unacceptable.”

  13. Silent Hunter

    If this is done to glorify Hitler, as I imagine it is, then it is unacceptable.” Forgive me Shamik but why should he imagine it is collected to “glorify Hitler” for God’s sake – how is he able to discriminate on this point?

    When I look at “Nazi Memorabilia” in the Imperial War Museum – is that glorifying Hitler?

    No! . . . it’s reminding me that such madmen can easily come to power and that we should never deny that fact or try to “hide history” just because it’s a bit unpleasant . . or it let’s future generations forget what can happen when evil men seize power.

    I actually possess a WW2 German helmet and a WW2 RAF flying helmet and goggles – why should one be less relevant as an historical artefact than the other? Neither make me a Nazi sympathiser.

    I think you are however, correct that David Irving selling Nazi Memorabilia from his own site probably does have a lot to do with glorifying the Nazis . . . but that’s because of who he is . . . the point I am making is that simply owning a historic artefact does not necessarily mean that you support the people who made it any more than owning an axe, makes you a “axe wielding murderer”.

    I think you will find, (& Liz too- forgive me for ever even thinking you could be related to the appalling Dennis) that we probably agree on the fundamental idea that the Nazis were / are evil but I just wish that the criticism was a bit more focussed to avoid the more manic, broad brush, tabloid style approach to any subject.

    Hoping you both have a good Christmas and a Happy and peaceful New Year.

    All the jolly. :o) from Silent Hunter.

  14. resident leftie

    Trade in Nazi memorabilia is banned in Austria, France, Poland and Germany, where it is also illegal to deny the Holocaust, display the Swastika, own a copy of Mein Kampf or give the Sieg Heil salute. In Britain, home to many memorabilia websites, none of these are a criminal offence.

    Are you suggesting they should be? We can’t make legal judgements about the nature of people buying things, and we certainly shouldn’t ban their sale. It plays into the persecution complex of the far right, as well as being a gross violation of civil liberties.

  15. Kris Oltman

    I currently reside in Germany and I can assure you that you can still find and buy WWII Nazi memorabilia here. I am a collector and have found many items at several flea market type atmospheres. My point…..I do not support any aspect of Hitler or his Ideologies however, these are items of history and they represent something that was evil and wicked but nonetheless history.

  16. Agnieszka Tokarska

    @leftfootfwd http://bit.ly/5Eqyy3 please see also:Auschwitz sign was stolen for wealthy British Nazi – mirror.co.uk – http://bit.ly/4LUNuN

  17. Joel

    This is frankly typical of the media at the moment – any interest in World War 2 German items and accusations of ‘Nazi sympathiser’ are thrown left, right and centre.

    Dr. Samuels is wrong in his assumption that most collectors have anything like these views. The vast majority of collectors are genuinely insterested in the history and preservation of historical items – there chosen field of specialisation is neither here nor there. Others collect Japanese or Communist items, yet we do not row over politics. The latter two regimes were of course just as bad (if not worse) than the Third Reich. Yet in none of these areas have I met anyone(in my 19 years of collecting) who hold any extremist or radical views in either direction.

    Also the writier is wrong with regard tthat the trade is illegal in Germany, etc – this is not the case, but there are legal restrictions (sometimes which seem a little over the top) to ensure that these items and symbols are not used to glorify Nazism. Some of the most respected dealers in the trade are based in Germany, and they follow the law to the letter, and do not hold any views supporting Nazism.

    Whilst it’s clear that the media wish to incite some degree of ‘horror’ in people that these items are sold, I’m sorry but in a free society we should not forget the horros of history – to do so is dangerous and opens the door for future trouble.

    To fellow collectors and amateur historians I’ll say this: we know it’s impossible to get away from the fact that a small minority among us hold extremist views. This is life unfortunately, and we know this is a very small minority and banning things simply drives this underground (would people rather have the BNP where we can see them or underground where it is impossible to police their activities?) These people are for the most part shunned by the rest of us – indeed I have never met any, and I’m well aware that even amongst collectors of Third Reich antiques, the collecting of Holocaust items is viewed in pretty much the same way as the rest of the population.

    Finally I feel I should (well… you really have to these days else you are branded with some type of undeserved name) justify why we collect.

    The Third Reich, whether we like the fact or not HAPPENED. It was, again however unoppular this may be, a very interesting, disturbing and amazing time. How this came about is still wrapped in enigma by many historians – the events which happen oftn defy belief (and this is not a good thing).

    Only by remembering, conserving and discovering history can we ensure that this sort of thing never happens again. To ban or hide history is the first step towards allowing it to happen again – and indeed for those who do hold beliefs which are misguided, this simply creates a ‘martyr philosophy’. Neo-Nazis already believe in spiritual connections to the symbols and mysticism of Hitler, and Lord knows what else (let’s face it – they’re not exact the brains of Britain). Their paranoia is also high as it is, without governments putting too much importance on a minority view, and thereby pandering to their disturbed views.

    Not being one of these people, I attach no importance to the symbols in the ways they do – I do not see how seeing a symbol, especially if you choose to ignore learning the history, can somehow magically make someone into an anti-semite (as the ‘logic’ of banning seems to indicate).

    I’d also add the beauty of the items themselves is a factor. Sorry if that’s not ‘PC’ enough, but these things were not designed with military effectiveness in mind – they were designed by artists and architects specifically to look good – allied leaders who visited Germany are known to say how wonderful things looked. Indeed allied soldiers, the people who fought this regime, would collect items not only as a trophy, but because they looked simply beautiful.

    I’m sure if some of you would attend some of the military or collectors fairs, and meet some of the people involved you would not be so quick as to judge as all as some kind of sinister fetish group.

    After all, I myself am part Ashkanazi (my ancestors are from Holland), part indian, a pro-Israeli and one of my uncles was present at the liberation and occupation by allied troops at Belsen. I would be the first person to spot the nutters!

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