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The Schmooze

Up for Auction: Hitler’s Reading Glasses, Cigarette Case

The controversy about the sale of Nazi memorabilia continues. Just months after Josef Mengele’s diaries were purchased by an anonymous American Orthodox Jew who says he may loan them to Yad Vashem, and days after Hitler’s Gemlich letter went on display at the Museum of Tolerance, it has been announced that an auction of some of Hitler’s personal effects is set to take place this month in Germany.

Some are questioning the decency of private individuals benefiting financially from the sale of such items. Moshe Kantor, president of the European Jewish Congress, reportedly called the auction “ a stain on modern-day Germany.” He was also quoted as saying, “As we at the European Jewish Congress try and preserve the memory and historic lessons of this dark period, these types of events are completely counterproductive and damaging toward educating younger Germans and Europeans about the Holocaust.”

Hermann Historica, the auction house handling the sale, claims that it has not been publicizing the event, and that it will require all bidders to sign a waiver stating that they will use the items only for educational purposes.

Among the memorabilia that will be on the auction block are Hitler’s reading glasses (which he never wore in public), his silver cigarette case (for which he, as a non-smoker, had little use), and other household items like lamps and watches. On sale will also be a gold and emerald badge with a swastika on it.

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