Australian Jewish leaders have condemned an auction house that held a fire sale of Nazi memorabilia before a government ban is due to come into effect.
Last Saturday, Danielle Elizabeth Antique & Estate Auctioneers sold items including a gold Totenkopf ring, an SS branded licence plate, and the sign for a street named after Adolf Hitler.
Dvir Abramovich, chair of the Anti-Defamation Commission - Australia’s largest civil rights organisation - claimed the Queensland business was glorifying and honouring the Nazi regime.
“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,” he told the Jerusalem Post.
"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.
“It is also a kick in the stomach of the survivors who have suffered enough. These satanic articles are the pure embodiment of absolute inhumanity and horror and may end up in the hands of Third Reich worshippers who will proudly display them in their homes and use them to recruit new members to their sickening cause.”
Earlier this month, the Australian government announced plans to ban the sale of Nazi memorabilia. Public displays of SS symbols and swastikas will also be outlawed, but not the Sieg Heil.
The sale of Third Reich flags, armbands, t-shirts, and insignia will all be banned, with an exemption for educational and academic purposes. Swastikas will also be permitted if they appear in a religious context.
Announcing the legislation, Attorney General Mark Dreyfus said: "There is no place in Australia for symbols that glorify the horrors of the Holocaust.
"We will no longer allow people to profit from the display and sale of items which celebrate the Nazis.”
Nazi memorabilia is displayed at a National Museum of American History exhibition (Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
In a statement published to their website, Danielle Elizabeth said none of their buyers are neo-Nazis but are instead “some of the most educated and wealthy people in Australia”.
Previous militaria auctions attracted interest from America, Canada, and "all over" Australia, they claimed.
A spokesman for Danielle Elizabeth Antique & Estate Auctioneers told the JC: “Concentration Camps and the Holocaust should never be forgotten but freedom of speech is a vital legacy of Western civilisation and worth preserving.
“The Australian government's soon to be ban on the trade of historical artefacts is just another erosion of our civil liberties. We are now legislating against freedom, to appease the screeching minorities.
“Censorship, control, and the stamp down on civil liberties is exactly what Hitler did to the Jews in Germany from 1933 -1945. Now people like Dvir [Abramovich] and his business are forcing that upon us.
“People are dying all over the world today, and the persecution of man is only getting worse, yet Dvir Abramovich is focused on demonising legal businesses in Australia selling legal historical artefacts from over 75 years ago.
“We are not selling drugs to kids... we sell history."
The Nazi memorabilia sale included items from five main vendors including the estates of two deceased collectors.