BY JACK HOUGHTON
The Daily Telegraph
June 29, 2017
THOUSANDS of dollars worth of Nazi memorabilia is being sold across the state, infuriating some people within the local Jewish community who say it should be donated to museums.
Rings worn by SS officers and propaganda pictures are among Nazi and holocaust artefacts being sold at art auctions and on trading websites. One Parramatta man is selling a 1936 “Nazi Olympic Torch” for $7,400 on Gumtree.
It is illegal to sell Nazi memorabilia in Austria, France and Germany but no restriction exists in Australia. Gumtree permits the sale of such items, even though its parent company eBay bans the sale of “1936 Olympic medals” and any “historical Nazi-related items”.
NSW Jewish Board of Deputies chief executive Vic Alhadeff said selling Nazi items was insensitive.
“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.”
Auction house Mossgreen specialist auctioneer Charles Leski, 65 — a Jewish man whose parents survived the holocaust — defended the sale of some items but said there was a line that could not be crossed.
He said while “we can’t afford to ignore what happened in Germany during those 12 years of Nazi rule”, people who, say, collected German stamps should not be stopped from collecting stamps from that period.
But he said some things belonged in museums rather than being traded for private collections.
“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 believe there is still $37 billion worth of Nazi loot missing after the fall of the Third Reich, some of which appears to have made its way to Australia.
Parramatta collector Guf Hedayat, 29, said he bought the Olympic torch for $3,900 ($US3,000) and was not concerned that is was from Germany’s Nazi era.
“I bought it online from Serbia two years ago … I didn’t ask how it came into their possession,” he said.
“It doesn’t help what was going on in those days but it is still a good piece.”
Mossgreen has auctioned off “propaganda” postcards bearing the face of Hitler.
The item description even warned that post offices would not accept the stamps emblazoned with swastikas.