Dozens of European Jewish leaders urge US-based auction house to cancel auction of Nazi items

July 28, 2022

The items to be auctioned by Alexander Auctions in Maryland include a gold watch belonging to Hitler, a dog collar belonging to Eva Braun’s terrier, Wehrmacht toilet paper and cutlery and champagne glasses of senior Nazi figures.

This is not the first time that the auction house has sold such items.

Rabbi Menachem Margolin, Chairman of  Brussels-based European Jewish Association (EJA) called the sale of the items ‘’abhorrent.’’ “This auction, whether unwittingly or not, is doing two things: one, giving succour to those who idealise what the Nazi party stood for. Two: Offering buyers the chance to titillate a guest or loved one with an item belonging to a genocidal murderer and his supporters,” he stressed,

In a letter co-signed by 34 Jewish leaders, Rabbi Margolin urged the auction house to cancel the auction. He wrote: ‘’The sale of these items is an abhorrence. There is little to no intrinsic historical value to the vast bulk of the lots on display. Indeed, one can only question the motivation of those buying them. Europe suffered egregiously because of the perverted and murderous ideology of the Nazi party. Millions died to preserve the values of freedom that we take for granted today, including almost half a million Americans. Our continent is littered with memorial mass graves and the sites of death camps.’’

“Jews of course bore the brunt of Nazi hatred. Every Jewish family living today had relatives murdered or who were interned simply for being Jewish. Over six million of us alone. Whilst it is obvious that the lessons of history need to be learned – and legitimate Nazi artifacts do belong in museums or places of higher learning – the items that you are selling clearly do not. That they are sold to the highest bidder, on the open market is an indictment to our society, one in which the memory, suffering and pain of others is overridden for financial gain.’’0

 

 

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Far-right going mainstream in Europe

ZAGREB: Hungary’s prime minister declares that the “color” of Europeans should not mix with that of Africans and Arabs. His Polish counterpart claims Jews took part in their own destruction in the Holocaust. And the Croatian president has thanked Argentina for welcoming notorious pro-Nazi war criminals after World War II.Ever since World War II, such views were taboo in Europe, confined to the far-right fringes. Today they are openly expressed by mainstream political leaders in parts of Central and Eastern Europe, part of a global populist surge in the face of globalization and mass migration.
“There is something broader going on in the region which has produced a patriotic, nativist, conservative discourse through which far-right ideas managed to become mainstream,” said Tom Junes, a historian and a
researcher with the Human and Social Studies Foundation in Sofia, Bulgaria.
In many places, the shift to the right has included the rehabilitation of Nazi collaborators, often fighters or groups celebrated as anti-communists or defenders of national liberation. In Hungary and Poland, governments are also eroding the independence of courts and media, leading human rights groups to warn that democracy is threatened in parts of a region that threw off Moscow-backed dictatorships in 1989.
Some analysts say Russia is covertly helping extremist groups in order to destabilize Western liberal democracies. While that claim is difficult to prove with concrete evidence, it is clear that the growth of radical groups has pushed moderate conservative parties to veer to the right to hold onto votes.
That’s the case in Hungary, where Prime Minister Viktor Orban and his Fidesz party – the front-runner in the April 8 elections – have drawn voters with an increasingly strident anti-migrant campaign. Casting himself as the savior of a white Christian Europe being overrun by hordes of Muslims and Africans, Orban has insisted that Hungarians don’t want their “own color, traditions and national culture to be mixed by others.”
Orban, who is friendly with Russian President Vladimir Putin, was also the first European leader to endorse Donald Trump in the 2016 U.S. presidential race. In 2015, he erected razor wire at Hungary’s borders to stop migrants from crossing and has since been warning in apocalyptic terms that the West faces racial and civilizational suicide if the migration continues. Orban has also been obsessed with demonizing the financier and philanthropist George Soros, falsely portraying the Hungarian-born Holocaust survivor as an advocate of uncontrolled immigration into Europe. In what critics denounce as a state-sponsored conspiracy theory with anti-Semitic overtones, the Hungarian government spent $48.5 million on anti-Soros ads in 2017, according to data compiled by investigative news site atlatszo.hu.
In a recent speech, Orban denounced Soros in language that echoed anti-Judaic cliches of the 20th century. He said Hungary’s foes “do not believe in work, but speculate with money; they have no homeland, but feel that the whole world is theirs.”
In nearby Poland, xenophobic language is also on the rise. When nationalists held a large Independence Day march in November, when some carried banners calling for a “White Europe” and “Clean Blood,” the interior minister called it a “beautiful sight.” Poland’s government has also been embroiled in a bitter dispute with Israel and Jewish organizations over a law that would criminalize blaming Poland for Germany’s Holocaust crimes.
With tensions running high in February, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki listed “Jewish perpetrators” as among those who were responsible for the Holocaust. He also visited the Munich grave of an underground Polish resistance group that had collaborated with the Nazis.
In the same vein, an official tapped to create a major new history museum has condemned the postwar tribunals in Nuremberg, Germany, where top Nazis were judged, as “the greatest judicial farce in the history of Europe.” Arkadiusz Karbowiak said the Nuremberg trials were only “possible because of the serious role of Jews” in their organization and called them “the place where the official religion of the Holocaust was created.”
Across the region, Muslims, Roma, Jews and other minorities have expressed anxiety about the future. But nationalists insist they aren’t promoting hate. They claim they’re defending their national sovereignty and Christian way of life against globalization and the large-scale influx of migrants who don’t assimilate.
The Balkans, bloodied by ethnic warfare in the 1990s, are also seeing a rise of nationalism, particularly in Serbia and Croatia. Political analysts there believe Russian propaganda is spurring old ethnic resentments.
Croatia has steadily drifted to the right since joining the EU in 2013. Some officials there have denied the Holocaust or reappraised Croatia’s ultranationalist, pro-Nazi Ustasha regime, which killed tens of thousands of Jews, Serbs, Roma and anti-fascist Croats in wartime prison camps. In a recent visit to Argentina, President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic thanked the country for providing postwar refuge to Croats who had belonged to the Ustasha regime.
The world’s top Nazi hunter, Efraim Zuroff of the Wiesenthal center, called her statement “a horrific insult to victims.” Grabar-Kitarovic later said she had not meant to glorify a totalitarian regime.
In Bulgaria, which holds the EU’s rotating presidency, the government includes a far-right alliance, the United Patriots, whose members have given Nazi salutes and slurred minorities. Deputy Prime Minister Valeri Simeonov has called Roma “ferocious humanoids” whose women “have the instincts of street dogs.”
Junes, the Sofia-based researcher, said that even though hate crimes are on the rise in Bulgaria, the problem has raised little concern in the West because the country keeps its public debt in check and is not challenging the fundamental Western consensus, unlike Poland and Hungary.
While populist and far-right groups are also growing in parts of Western Europe, countries like Poland and Hungary are proving more vulnerable
to the same challenges, said Peter Kreko, director of Political Capital Institute, a Budapest-based think tank.
“In younger, weaker, more fragile democracies,” he said, “right-wing populism is more dangerous because it can weaken and even demolish the democratic institutions.”
The article was published on The Daily Star

New Cooperation with Two Jewish Organizations in Ukraine

The European Jewish Association is proud and delighted to welcome another organisation to our growing roster of partners and communities.
We have just concluded and signed a memorandum of understanding with The Kiev Jewish Community and Association of Jewish Communities in Ukraine.
We are sure that this cooperation will bring with it beautiful and important accomplishments. We look forward to working for the betterment of Dutch and European Jewry together.

COVID Diary- Reflections from Our Advisory Board Member Rabbi Binyomin Jacobs

Every Day during the Corona crisis our Advisory Board Member Chief Rabbi Binyomin Jacobs (NL) writes a diary, on request of the Jewish Cultural Quarter in Amsterdam, which is published on the website of the NIW, the only Jewish Dutch Magazine. Rabbi Jacobs is the head of Inter Governmental Relationships at the Rabbinical Centre of Europe. We will be regularly publishing a selection of his informative, sometimes light hearted, but always wise pieces.
For our Dutch readers you can follow the diary every day at NIW home page: https://niw.nl
Every day in my e-mail box I receive statements of support like this: “I would like to wish you a lot of strength and wisdom because of the hatred for Jews that is raging throughout Europe. It all started in the 3rd century when the Church Fathers changed the policy by excluding the Jews. Lies they made up back then are still going around. My heart weeps, and I pray for you and all the Jews, that the Lord will protect you all. ”
Today should have been an ordinary day. From 9:00 am – 11:00 am I had my annual guest lecture at a Theological University, then a visit to a seriously ill woman in hospital, then home to answer emails, followed by an online meeting about kosher slaughter with a European Commissioner, a pastoral meeting at my house, ticket booking for grandson’s bar mitzvah in the US and then some chores to finish the day. I would end it with a brisk walk with a good friend and then, as a kind of ritual closing of the day writing my diary. But it went differently than planned. I usually have good control over myself emotionally. But today I didn’t. It started with the emailed statement of support that hit home hard the reality of rampant anti-Semitism, with the result that when I was asked about the situation in Israel during my guest lecture, I expressed myself too emotionally: After I delivered it, I received the following message from an Assistant Professor: “Thank you for your impressive lecture. But we were shocked by your remark that if you weren’t Chief Rabbi, you probably would already have moved to Israel. The image you painted of a captain prevented from leaving a sinking ship was as shocking as it was telling in that regard. Thank you for the open, personal and vulnerable tone of the conversation, which also touched me personally. Strength and wisdom in championing the importance of a safe place for the Jewish people in our country,” I don’t know if I should have expressed myself in that way, because in the end I have no intention of allowing myself to be expelled from my native country, which I have been a part of for at least ten generations. But the recent hatred was so visceral, so all pervading, that it exhausted my usual high levels of enthusiasm.
The European Union Commissionner was friendly and politically correct. She will stand up for kosher slaughter, but I did not get the impression that the antisemitism, which forms the basis of the attempted ban by Poland, was felt by her. This did not add to my mood I must say. And so again, in my view, I made a mistake and mentioned that in my daughter’s street in London loudspeakers were heard calling on the rape of Jewish women and girls as part of protests. It is a pity that one even needs to mention and underline the obvious to make the point. But let us go back to animal welfare for a moment on which kosher slaughter is under scrutiny. If there is one religion that attaches great importance to animal welfare it is my own. Why not tackle the real and demonstrable animal suffering: the transporting across hundreds or thousands of kilometres of animals? In any case, why on earth are we discussing animal welfare while antisemitic slogans are being shouted at across Europe during anti-Israel demonstrations? Is this a priority while the vile spectre of jew-hatred is rising again? It feels to me like the politicians are fiddling while Rome burns!
As if to compound this impending sense of Jews being cast adrift, the Prime Minister here in Holland and 5 of his ministers had a falling out about Israel. The five believe they should ask forgiveness from the Palestinians for allowing Jews to move to Israel after the Holocaust. So yes, my sanity tells me that moving to Israel would be wise. But a captain is never the first to leave asinking ship. And my heart belongs in Holland. I am certain that there are an increasing numbers of Jews from all over Europe who are actively weighing up their options. That their hearts belong in Europe, but common sense in the face of repeated attacks on them pulls them towards Israel. The fact that we even have to weigh up such a choice is indicative of a deep malaise in society and politics here, where Jews are having to defend things that shouldn’t even need defending – our very freedom of religion – whilst the elephant in the room – increasing antisemitism and particularly its new variant antizionism, run amok. I go to bed and am grateful for the many expressions of support and hope for better times and a better frame of mind for myself. I hope.

Nonostante Le Proteste Dei Leader Ebraici Europei, L'orologio Appartenuto A Hitler È Stato Messo All'asta Negli Stati Uniti.

Gli oggetti non fanno altro che dare manforte a coloro che idealizzano ciò che il partito nazista rappresentava o offrono agli acquirenti la possibilità di stuzzicare un ospite o una persona cara con un oggetto appartenente a un assassino genocida e ai suoi sostenitori”, ha scritto il rabbino Menachem Margolin, presidente dell’Associazione ebraica europea (EJA) con sede a Bruxelles, in una lettera cofirmata da 34 leader delle comunità ebraiche in Europa – scrive Yossi Lempkowicz.

Nonostante le proteste dei leader ebraici europei, un orologio d’oro appartenuto a Hitler è stato venduto da una casa d’aste americana per oltre 1 milione di euro.

L’orologio Huber presenta il disegno di una svastica e le iniziali A H. È stato acquistato da un offerente anonimo.

L’asta si è svolta venerdì, nonostante 34 leader ebrei europei avessero chiesto alla casa d’aste Alexander Historical Auctions di Chesapeake City, nel Maryland, di annullare l’asta.

Tra gli altri oggetti nazisti messi all’asta c’erano un collare per cani appartenuto al terrier di Eva Braun, carta igienica della Wehrmacht, posate e bicchieri di champagne di alte personalità naziste.

Il presidente della casa d’aste, Bill Panagopulos, ha respinto le proteste. Ha detto: “Quello che vendiamo è una prova criminale, per quanto insignificante. È una prova tangibile e reale che Hitler e i nazisti hanno vissuto, perseguitato e ucciso decine di milioni di persone. Distruggere o impedire in qualsiasi modo l’esposizione o la protezione di questo materiale è un crimine contro la storia”.

Ma i leader ebraici, che hanno inviato una lettera alla casa d’aste per condannare la vendita, hanno respinto l’affermazione: “Gli oggetti non fanno altro che dare manforte a coloro che idealizzano ciò che il partito nazista rappresentava o offrono agli acquirenti la possibilità di stuzzicare un ospite o una persona cara con un oggetto appartenente a un assassino genocida e ai suoi sostenitori”, ha scritto il rabbino Menachem Margolin, presidente dell’Associazione ebraica europea (EJA) con sede a Bruxelles, nella lettera cofirmata da 34 leader delle comunità ebraiche europee.

Ha aggiunto: “La vendita di questi oggetti è un’abiezione. La maggior parte dei lotti esposti non ha alcun valore storico intrinseco. In effetti, ci si può solo interrogare sulle motivazioni di chi li acquista. L’Europa ha sofferto enormemente a causa dell’ideologia perversa e assassina del partito nazista. Milioni di persone sono morte per preservare i valori di libertà che oggi diamo per scontati, tra cui quasi mezzo milione di americani. Il nostro continente è disseminato di fosse comuni commemorative e di siti di campi di sterminio”.

Negli ultimi anni, l’Associazione Ebraica Europea ha protestato contro diverse aste di oggetti nazisti.

Alexander Historical Auctions aveva già affrontato un rimprovero simile per vendite precedenti, tra cui una che presentava i diari personali del noto criminale di guerra nazista Josef Mengele.

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