A public auction of Second World War-era Nazi items brought strong prices late last year despite being criticized by the European Jewish Association (EJA).
While EJA Chair Menachem Margolin, who’s a rabbi, protested the auction in an open letter to German political leaders, the sale by Munich’s Hermann Historica went ahead unimpeded.
“I understand that it is not illegal to buy and sell Nazi memorabilia … this is not a legal request but a moral one. It is wrong,” wrote Margolin, who added the auction offers an “opportunity for people to glorify, show adulation and sentimentality for the Nazis.”
Among the top-selling lots was a silver-covered edition of Nazi leader Adolf Hitler’s autobiographical Mein Kampf. With an eagle and the party’s swastika emblem adorning the front cover, the book – once owned by Nazi official Hermann Goering – sold for about $190,000.
“The largest part of the customers who shop with us are museums, state collections and private collectors who really meticulously deal with the subject,” auction house director Bernhard Pacher told the Deutsche Presse-Agentur, a German news agency.
Nearly 150 Nazi-related lots crossed the block as part of the auction, which featured more than 800 German historical collectibles dating as far back as 1919.