An eBay user who tried to auction an Auschwitz prisoner’s uniform online for more than £11,000 has made a public apology to the man’s family — and has offered to return the clothing to them.
Viktor Kempf, a Ukrainian living in Canada, was selling the full concentration camp uniform, which he claimed belonged to Wolf-Gierszon Grundmann, on the online retail site last week.
The uniform was among Holocaust items such as camp inmate’s shoes, brushes, suitcases and Star of David items on sale on eBay.
Initially, Mr Kempf claimed he was selling the uniform to fund a book documenting the atrocities of the Holocaust.
But, following international outrage, which led to eBay removing all the offending items from its website, issuing a public apology and entering into dialogue with the Holocaust Education Trust, Mr Kempf had a change of heart.
He said last weekend: “I am ready to present the uniform to the family as a donation. And I would like to apologise to them for awaking sad feelings and bad memories.”
But the family of Mr Grundmann, who died a few months after arriving at Auschwitz in January 1941, have accused Mr Kempf of exploiting personal tragedy and argue the uniform did not, in any case, belong to Mr Grundmann.
According to Fani Simon, the half- sister of Mr Grundmann’s daughter, who lives in Tel Aviv, the family are asking Vancouver police to investigate Mr Kempf for identity fraud.
Ms Simon said: “This is terrible and upsetting. I feel very angry. We are absolutely sure this uniform is a fake, which means someone stole his identity.”
Vancouver police have confirmed that they will consider opening a fraud investigation.