Auction house pulls Nazi items after public outcry
VANCOUVER -- After public outcry and condemnation by the Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver, a Richmond-based auction house has decided to pull Nazi memorabilia from a sale on Saturday.
Maynards Fine Art & Antiques had several Nazi items up for auction, a move that Ezra Shanken, CEO with the Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver, said was shocking and deeply offensive to him and many in the community.
"We are talking about the disrespect that it shows not just the 6 million lives that were lost that were Jewish, but the countless millions that weren't Jewish that were butchered by the Nazis and the troops that risked their lives and lost their lives to stop the Nazi regime,” said Shanken.
He said the items, which included Nazi military and police helmets, Nazi navy hats, Nazi badges and pins, a Nazi wall plaque, and a Nazi flag, belong in a museum where context can be provided. Shanken said then they can be used to educate people, but they don’t belong in private collections.
"The items here are in many ways dripping with blood of the victims,” said Shanken. "These are symbols that are deeply traumatic, and we don’t believe that these should be out there in such an open circulation.”
Saturday’s auction is described on Maynards’ website as "featuring modern and antique firearms, swords, bayonets, medals, taxidermy, and militaria.”
Shanken said his organization contacted Maynards after finding out about the items going up for auction but was told they would not be taken down.
But it appears that after complaints from the community, as well as a Facebook post by Richmond MLA Jas Johal, that the auction house decided to pull the items after all.
"Maynards Fine Art and Auctions you MUST do better,” said the Facebook post from Johal. "Six million lives were taken by the Nazis. An auction that sells Nazi memorabilia is not acceptable in any community, never mind one as diverse and caring as Richmond. Please immediately remove all Nazi material from your auction."
A post on Maynards’ website about Saturday’s auction now has a message saying that all items pertaining to Nazism have been removed.
"We have determined that the community does not want items of this type being sold at public auction,” read the emailed statement by Hugh Bulmer, vice-president of Maynards. "Unfortunately, it will continue underground.”