A leading civil rights organisation is calling on an Australian auction house to withdraw Nazi items from an upcoming auction to be held in Sydney early next month.
Several Nazi items - including a flag, cutlery, canvas ration bags and a dagger each marked with a Swastika symbol – are listed for auction at Vickers and Hoad’s upcoming ‘Arms and Weapons - Militaria and Weapons’ auction.
On Monday, Chairman of the Jewish advocacy group, the Anti-Defamation Commission, Dr Dvir Abramovich called on the antique auctioneers to “choose decency over profit”.
“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,” he said in a statement.
“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 is also urging state and federal governments to criminalise the sale of Nazi objects. While the market in Nazi memorabilia is legal in Australia, a number of European countries including Germany have banned the sale of such items.
During the war, the Nazi Party were responsible for the murders of around six million Jewish people and millions more from minority ethnic groups a part of their “Final Solution” plan.
On Monday, SBS News reported that Vickers & Hoad defended its decision to auction the items, 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," said director Colin Vickers.
Mr Vickers said he does not "celebrate or condone" Nazism.
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."