(JNS) A Canadian website has come under fire after offering a large number of items linked to the Holocaust for sale.
The website, privatecollections.ca, is offering a variety of items including an uncut “Jude” yellow star, a leather strap said to have been used to beat inmates in a concentration camp and a “Kapo” armband.
A sign reportedly from Auschwitz, a copy of the newspaper Der Stürmer and a wooden Jewish caricature souvenir are also among the items on sale.
Also for sale for $3,999 is an empty can of Zyklon B—the pesticide the Germans and their helpers used to murder approximately 1.1 million people in gas chambers at Auschwitz-Birkenau, Majdanel and other death camps.
B'nai Brith Canada, a Canadian Jewish service organisation and advocacy group, has called for the website to be closed down after the items were offered for sale.
Michael Mostyn, CEO of B’nai Brith Canada, told JNS: “The proprietor of the website has gone to great lengths to acquire, inventory and retail a staggering catalogue that is representative of some of the darkest moments of the Shoah.”
The group has been unable to identify the person or people running the site. An “About” page on the site identifies the owner as a “private collector” of 25 years who purchased the items in flea markets and antique stores, and from dealers in Poland and Germany.
Some Jewish-owned and other auction houses sell what is called “antisemitica,” which can include items related to the Holocaust.
A disclaimer on the Canadian site states that it does so “for historical purposes only and should not be viewed as an attempt to glorify the tragic events of World War Two (or any other conflict).”
It adds: “I do not support in any way those who would condone or embrace individuals, groups and/or organisations that are intolerant, racist or violent.
“This site is respectfully dedicated to all those who suffered and died during the most tragic war in human history, both civilian and military and on all sides.”
B’nai Brith called it “a weak disclaimer”.
Mostyn went on to say that it was time to “adapt and modernise” Canadian laws to confront online hatred.” He noted the Canadian Parliament is exploring such legislation.
He pointed out Australia is seeking to legislate bans on displaying swastikas and other Nazi symbols and added: “There are other jurisdictions in Europe and elsewhere that restrict the sale and display of Nazi memorabilia.
Canada has no such legislation, although “usage or display of Nazi iconography, in certain circumstances, may violate the provisions of the Criminal Code that prevent ‘hate crimes,’” he continued.
Mostyn concluded: “B’nai Brith Canada has provided input to the committees presently engaged in the study of this.
“There remains a need to further examine how online retailers are regulated.”