Winning bidders of ‘despicable’ Nazi memorabilia urged to donate items to Sydney Jewish Museum

SS paraphernalia and an album of 500 photos from concentration camps which sold for $25,000 among items at Queensland auction

The New South Wales Jewish Board of Deputies has urged anyone who successfully bid on Nazi memorabilia to donate the items to the Sydney Jewish Museum after an album containing 500 photos from inside concentration camps sold for $25,000.

The photo album was the highest-selling item in the 143-lot online sale held by Queensland auction house Danielle Elizabeth on Sunday. The auction included artefacts ranging from buttons, rings, stamps and books to SS paraphernalia.

A picture book with collectible photos of Adolf Hitler said to be signed by Hitler, Hermann Göring and German field marshal Wilhelm Keitel was the next bestselling item, fetching $6,600.

The NSW Jewish Board of Deputies chief executive, Darren Bark, said it was wrong for people to profit from the evidence of genocide.

“These disturbing photos and symbols are a chilling reminder of a horrific period in history and belong in museums to remember the horrors of the Holocaust, not flogged off to the highest bidder at auction,” Bark said.

“We urge those who bought these despicable items to donate them to the Sydney Jewish Museum so it can continue to educate the community and the next generation about the horrors of mankind.”

A statement on the title page of the auction said some of the money raised would be donated to charity: “Profits from bidding commissions will be donated to Project Karma that bust paedophile rings … a major cause Danielle Elizabeth very much supports.”

It is unclear whether this included any consignment and handling fees that may have been earned by the auction house.

Danielle Elizabeth auctioneers were contacted for comment but did not respond.

The items were described as “militaria” and included hundreds of artefacts from Nazi Germany.

The most significant was an album of 500 photographs from inside concentration camps that was described by the auctioneers as “very disturbing !!”.

“I have only included a couple of the tame photos to give you an idea … but to be honest it doesnt [sic],” the listing said. “When you flip these folders, they are filled with Jews Hanging in the street, in the concentration camps dying, piles of bones etc. it is horrific!”

The auctioneers in the listing said they did not want to post graphic photos online and added “this really should be in a museum, this should never be forgotten”.

Sample photos included in the listing showed a pile of skulls and bones, what appeared to be a crematorium and a person sitting unclothed on a medical bed as they were being examined by men in medical coats.

After a bidding war between two users the album sold for $25,000 to user 5260 – making it the most expensive item.

The unsuccessful bidder, user 7171, was involved in bidding on nearly a third of the lots – worth $72,440 – and was successful in most.

The auction included domestic and foreign buyers who were anonymous.

Other items sold included a sign that said “Jews unwanted”, armbands used to single out Jewish people in Poland and Germany and watercolours produced by a Jewish artist in 1941 and 1942 documenting atrocities.

The total value of the items sold was $116,820. It was unclear how much was donated to charity from the proceeds.

Bark said Sunday’s auction added weight to the argument for all states to outlaw the display of Nazi symbols.

In August NSW became the second state – behind Victoria – to ban the display of Nazi flags and symbols.


Royce Kurmelovs

The GuardianTramp

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