Nazi auction in Tassie causes new uproar
A LAUNCESTON auction house is offering more Nazi memorabilia for sale, while acknowledging the distress the items may cause.
Armitage Auctions' previous auction of Nazi items such as an SS ring and a Hitler Youth belt buckle prompted widespread outrage.
The company's next auction on Wednesday features about 60 pieces of war memorabilia including Nazi medals, SS badges, an SS ring and stamps.
Auctioneer Neil O'Brien said the items were being sold on behalf of three clients, including one whose grandfather brought German souvenirs back from World War II.
"We can understand completely that the sight of some of these items could be upsetting, and to those affected we are sorry," Mr O'Brien said.
"The unfortunate fact is that there are many forms of memorabilia relating to horrific moments in history not just the great wars that people collect. Whilst we obviously condemn what happened in the war along with similar atrocities throughout history, people are interested in artefacts associated with these events.
"The majority of the people we have dealt with who collect these items are collectors of all war memorabilia not just German, and collect on a historical basis, not with the intention of spreading hate and anti-Semitism."
Mr O'Brien said all the Nazi items from the August auction had sold.
However Anti-Defamation Commission chairman Dvir Abramovich condemned the latest auction.
The prominent Jewish group is leading a national campaign to ban the sale of Nazi memorabilia.
"In a week in which Jews here and around the world are commemorating the one year anniversary of the Pittsburgh Tree of Life massacre, in which a white-supremacist gunman walked into a synagogue and brutally slaughtered 11 Jewish worshippers as they stood together in prayer, it is shameful and disgusting that an auction house in Tasmania is offering items that celebrate the very ideology that infected and inspired this evil man to carry out the atrocity," Dr Abramovich said.
Dr Abramovic said there was an alarming rise of neo-Nazi activity in Australia that was being further fuelled by the sale of Nazi objects.
"We must all remember that these objects embolden extremists and bigots who are nourished by possessing these murderous relics and who are committed to violence," he said.
Premier Will Hodgman has previously condemned the sale of Nazi memorabilia in Tasmania, pledging to seek advice on whether anything could be done to stop it.
A spokesman said a review of laws in other jurisdictions had resulted in the Government deciding not to take regulatory action.
"The display, promotion and sale of Nazi and Holocaust memorabilia, although not illegal, is often considered offensive, distressing and a breach of community and moral standards," the spokesman said.
"While the Government strongly urges any individual or organisation in Tasmania to think twice about seeking to profit from the sale of such items - and we applaud the actions of many auction houses or online retail platforms already choosing not to sell - the Government, following a review of other national and international jurisdictions, is not considering any regulatory action at this time."