The Chairman of the European Jewish Association, Rabbi Menachem Margolin, has written to the managing director of East Belfast Auction House Bloomfield on Tuesday, urging him to withdraw a number of items belonging to Adolf Hitler from an upcoming auction in June.
The items in question are a pencil given to Hitler by Eva Braun, his photographer and later his wife, and a signed and framed photograph. According to the official website of the auction house, the "pencil owned and used by Adolf Hitler given to him by Eva Braun on his 52nd birthday. [The] pencil is white metal 8.5cms in length. At the top it is inscribed 'ah' and on the side 'zum 20 april 1941 her zlichst' eva." According to The Guardian, who exposed this story, the pencil is estimated to sell for between £50,000 and £80,000.
According to The Guardian, Karl Bennett, managing director of the auction house, said they expected interest from around the world. Bennett said that “for me, as a high-end collector of military items, they preserve a piece of our past and should be treated as historical objects, no matter if the history they refer to was one of the darkest and most controversial in recorded history.”
Rabbi Margolin: Auctioning Nazi items could glorify their actions
In his letter, Rabbi Margolin made a moral appeal to the auction house, stating that the items do not have inherent historical value and their sale could be dangerous. He argued that such items create a macabre trade in the belongings of mass murderers and could potentially glorify the actions of the Nazis. Furthermore, their trade is an insult to the millions who perished during the Holocaust and to Jews everywhere.
Rabbi Margolin also posed a question to Bloomfield Auctions managing director Karl Bennett: “Would you sell a pen belonging to Robert Murphy who killed 12 and injured 30 at LaMon? Then why is a pencil given as a trinket to a man who murdered 6 million Jews?”
Rabbi Margolin acknowledged that items of genuine historical interest belong in museums or places of learning but argued that the buying and selling of items such as those up for auction at Bloomfield are not of historical interest. He urged the auction house to withdraw the Nazi auction items and send a message that some things should not be traded.
The auction house has not yet responded to Rabbi Margolin’s letter.
The Jerusalem Post has checked the auction house website and found that there are many items for sale on the same date, June 6, such as a formal silver tray that belonged to Hitler, a fork, as well as crystal white wine glass "from his personal table."