ADC calls for Nazi memorabilia ban after another auction in Australia

Multiple auction houses have held sales of Nazi memorabilia in Australia and around the world in recent years.

A Nazi armband with a swastika displayed in the Deutsches Historisches Museum, Berlin, Germany (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
A Nazi armband with a swastika displayed in the Deutsches Historisches Museum, Berlin, Germany
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

The Anti-Defamation Commission (ADC) has called on the Victoria government to ban the sale of Nazi memorabilia after another auction of such memorabilia was held online over the weekend.

The auction was held by the Oldies Collectables and includes a variety of items including Nazi service medals, postcards and weapons from the Third Reich, stamps from Nazi Germany and a Nazi arm band, among other items. Many of the items have already been sold.

Despite selling the Nazi memorabilia alongside items from the Japanese and Italian militaries from during World War II, Oldies Collectables stresses on its website that it "does not support or represent hate, racism or political views."

"We love getting those items that make customers say 'I haven’t seen that before,'" says the auction company on its website.

Adolf Hitler (R) with Commander-in-Chief of the German Army Walther von Brauchitsch, Warsaw, October 1939 (credit: WIKIMEDIA COMMONS/RUFFNECK88)Adolf Hitler (R) with Commander-in-Chief of the German Army Walther von Brauchitsch, Warsaw, October 1939 (credit: WIKIMEDIA COMMONS/RUFFNECK88)

Dr. Dvir Abramovich, chair of the ADC, stated in response that "the extermination and dehumanization of millions should not have a price tag and be offered to the highest bidder. Oldies Collectables should retitle this sickening auction to 'A post-birthday gift to glorify and honor Hitler and his cruel regime of mass murder and torture.' If Hitler was alive today, he would be thanking this auction house and applauding their ghastly profiteering, delighted that his legacy is being mainstreamed and promoted in Australia.

"The perverse and twisted sale of these blood-stained items, the devil’s tools, tramples on the memory of the victims of the Holocaust and is a spit on the graves of the valiant diggers who sacrificed their lives to defeat this evil tyrant," added Abramovich. "It is also a kick in the stomach of the survivors who have suffered enough.

"The dramatic surge in antisemitism in our nation, and the Christchurch massacre, committed by a white supremacist who was inspired by the ideology represented by these very objects, should provoke some very serious soul-searching. This grisly trade that fuels the twisted appetite of Jew-haters and Final Solutionists has to stop, and I once again call on Premier [Daniel] Andrews and his government to act now and criminalize the sale of Nazi memorabilia so as to stamp out this grotesque and sinister practice."

In January, Shannon Wearne, the operations manager of Oldies Collectables, told Australia's Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) that the auction house has seen a "huge increase" in the demand for items from Nazi Germany, noting that many other auction houses have stopped selling such items.

Wearne added that Nazi uniforms sold by the auction house often sell for between AUD $2,000-3,000 (between USD $1,330-1995). The operations manager insisted that "You would not be able to tell someone who buys Third Reich items from people who buy tea cups and saucers."

"I mean it's no different than someone who collects magazines or something else," said Wearne to SBS.

Wearing a Nazi swastika, displaying Nazi memorabilia, and waving Nazi flags is a crime punishable with up to a year in jail, a fine of about AUD $22,000 (about USD $14,600) or both, according to SBS.

Sale of Nazi memorabilia reported repeatedly throughout Australia in recent months

The sale of Nazi memorabilia in auction houses has repeatedly sparked outrage among groups that fight antisemitism around the world, with the sale of such items occurring repeatedly in Australia in recent years.

Last year, the Australian antique auction company “JB Military Antiques” came under heavy criticism after auctioning hundreds of Nazi memorabilia, just a year after holding a similar auction for such memorabilia.

The auction company put 635 items up for sale at their November 20, 2022 auction – including Nazi firearms, uniforms and even a Luftwaffe helmet.

Abramovich was also vocal in opposing JB Military’s 2021 auction, where they sold personal items that belonged to Adolf Hitler – including his personal tableware, cups, a wine cooler, a metal hair brush, a hand mirror and silverware.

In January, the Queensland auction house Danielle Elizabeth sold a variety of Nazi memorabilia in an online auction, including an album containing 500 photos from inside concentration camps, which sold for AUD $25,000 (about USD $16,600), according to The Guardian.

A picture book with collectible photos of Hitler which was said to be signed by Hitler, Hermann Göring and German field marshal Wilhelm Keitel sold for AUD $6,600 (about USD $4,400) in that auction.

Additionally, in January, a stallholder at a Coomera antiques fair sold a collection of Nazi war memorabilia and weapons, including SS uniform patches, swastika armbands, daggers and war medals, according to ABC news.