One of the largest auctions of Nazi memorabilia seen in Australia has been condemned as “grisly and twisted” by the Anti-Defamation Commission.
Perth-based JB Military Antiques have listed at least 23 Nazi items for sale at its October 18 auction, including a Nazi German Army officer’s dagger featuring the swastika symbol that is expected to fetch almost $1000.
More than 130 other German World War II military artefacts have also been listed, including German and English editions of Adolf Hitler’s book Mein Kampf and a S.S. officer’s sword and scabbard that is expected to sell for up to $2600.
Anti-Defamation Commission chairman Dr Dvir Abramovich told NCA NewsWire the number and range of Nazi memorabilia was “quite astonishing” and was one of the largest auctions he’d seen in Australia.
“JB Military Antiques should rename this perverse mega auction to ‘A tribute day to celebrate, glorify and honour Adolf Hitler and his Nazi regime of mass extermination and dehumanisation’,” he said.
“Genocide and evil should not have a tag price and hawked to the highest bidder.
“The grisly and twisted sale of these bloodstained items that could have been used in the murder of millions of Jews and millions of others is a spit on the memory of the victims.”
Dr Abramovich said the objects were the “embodiment of absolute inhumanity and horror” and could end up in the hands of neo-Nazis who may use them to recruit new members.
He said a dramatic surge in anti-Semitism was inspired by the ideologies represented by the very objects listed for sale.
“I call on the owners of this auction house to put principles before profits and to immediately pull these articles from the catalogue,” Dr Abramovich said.
But JB Military Antiques owner and auctioneer Jamey Blewitt said neo-Nazis didn’t have the money to buy the authentic Nazi memorabilia and were happy with the “fake stuff”.
He said German memorabilia from the Second World War was the most collected of any particular area of militaria.
“I don’t think I’ve ever come across a serious collector that’s a neo-Nazi,” he told NCA NewsWire.
“It’s history, as horrible as it is, there are collectors out there that will pay the money. The people that collect this stuff aren’t Nazis.
“We run an auction twice a year, we have about every country represented, we don’t do this because we’re neo-Nazis, we do this because we’re running a business and we’re representing history – good or bad.”
Mr Blewitt said he had sold some German WWII items for as much as $20,000 and the majority of people who bought the memorabilia were “average white 30 to 50-year-old blokes, tradies, ex-military and people who like history”.
“When I first started doing this job I’d say to people ‘why do you collect this stuff’ and they’d say ‘I’ve watched the films, I watched Hogan’s Heroes, The Great Escape, the baddies always have the really nice uniforms’,” he said.
The Anti-Defamation Commission is one of Australia’s leading civil rights organisations and has been leading a national campaign to ban the sale of Nazi memorabilia.
“I repeat my call for state and federal governments to criminalise the sale of Nazi memorabilia to stamp out this grotesque and sinister practice,” Dr Abramovich said.