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EJA urges Irish auction house to drop Hitler items

European Jewish Association Chairman Rabbi Menachem Margolin says the items have no historical value.

A pencil owned and used by Adolf Hitler given to him by Eva Braun on his 52nd birthday. Credit: Bloomfield Auctions.
A pencil owned and used by Adolf Hitler given to him by Eva Braun on his 52nd birthday. Credit: Bloomfield Auctions.

European Jewish Association chairman Rabbi Menachem Margolin requested on Tuesday that Bloomfield Auctions withdraw from a sale in June two items once belonging to Adolf Hitler.

The items are an initialed pencil given to Hitler by Eva Braun, and a signed and framed photograph.

“This is not a legal appeal to you, Mr. Bennett, but very much a moral one,” wrote Margolin in a letter to Bloomfield Auctions Managing Director Karl Bennett.

“In comments attributed to you in a national newspaper, you say: ‘But for me, as a high-end collector of militaria 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,’ ” wrote Margolin.

“We simply cannot fathom how a love trinket such as an engraved pencil or a signed photograph constitutes a historical object of any inherent historical value,” he continued.

“In Europe today and indeed further afield, auction houses are buying and selling to the highest bidder other items such as watches or ashtrays belonging to Hitler, Hermann Goring cutlery sets, even Wehrmacht toilet paper. The defence from Munich to Maryland is the same, these items are of historical interest. They are anything but,” he continued.

Adding that while the EJA supports placing items of historical importance in museums and educational institutions, it opposes as “dangerous” the creation of a “macabre trade in items belonging to mass murderers.”

Such a trade, he said, “Is an insult to the millions who perished, the few survivors left, and to Jews everywhere.”

Margolin concluded by requesting from Bennett that he withdraw the items from sale “in this spirit of decency.”

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