Australia

Sydney auction house under fire for selling 'sinister, grotesque' Nazi memorabilia

The Nazi banner that is on sale. Source: Vickers & Hoad

Items from Adolf Hitler's Germany will appear at an upcoming Australian auction.

A Sydney auction house is under fire as it moves to sell a range of Nazi-era memorabilia - accused of putting profit over decency in the wake of recent far-right motivated attacks

Vickers & Hoad is listing several Nazi items in a November "militaria and weapons" auction, including cutlery with Swastikas, a Luftwaffe officer's dagger and a banner which it calls "a most spectacular display piece".

On Monday, Jewish advocacy group the Anti-Defamation Commission called on Vickers & Hoad to "choose decency over profit" and "immediately withdraw these grisly items from their shelves".

A "German Third Reich era Luftwaffe officer's dagger with scabbard".
A "German Third Reich era Luftwaffe officer's dagger with scabbard".
Vickers & Hoad

In a statement sent to SBS News, the organisation's chairman Dvir Abramovich said, "such auctions violate the memory of the victims, hurt the survivors and dishonour the enormous sacrifices made by the diggers who fought to defeat the Third Reich".

"These Satanic items, the embodiment of absolute inhumanity, could have been used by those who committed the barbaric slaughter of millions, and may end up in hands of Hitler worshippers who will proudly hang the banner it in their lounge or obscenely use the cutlery," Dr Abramovich said.

Fish serving fork and lifter, "each marked with Nazi Swastika symbol".
Fish serving fork and lifter, "each marked with Nazi Swastika symbol".
Vickers & Hoad

"The tragedies at Pittsburgh and Christchurch, committed by white supremacists, should provoke some very serious soul-searching by all."

It is legal to sell Nazi memorabilia in Australia and a number of military antique stores stock such items. However, several European countries, including Germany, ban the sale of such memorabilia.

"I also call on the state and federal governments to criminalise the sale of these objects, which belong in museums, so as to stamp out this grotesque and sinister practice," Dr Abramovich said.

The Anti-Defamation Commission, whose mission is to "fight anti-Semitism [and] combat all forms of racism and hatred", claims to regularly receive complaints about Nazi memorabilia and imagery appearing in Australia.

But Vickers & Hoad has defended itself, hitting back at the Anti-Defamation Commission's claims.

"I'm not having second thoughts at all ... No one is going to dictate to me what I can and can't do within the legal confines of Australian law," director Colin Vickers told SBS News on Monday.

"If you start going down this path, you're actually becoming a Nazi yourself, dictating to other people what they can and can't do. That's fascism."

Mr Vickers said he does not "celebrate or condone" Nazism.

"I'm definitely not a Nazi, my mother was a German Jew ... We have history there," he said.

When asked if the memorabilia could be bought by white supremacists, Mr Vickers said this was "bull****", adding "I don't connect with people like that".

"It's simply the past, it's history and if you try and smother it up, it will repeat itself. You must educate people about these symbols."

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