NEW YORK (Sep. 4)
Forty years after the rise of Nazism, mementos of the Third Reich–including photographs of Hitler, Goering and Goebbels and belt buckles worn by concentration camp guards–are being sold by mail order houses in Illinois and California, the American Jewish Congress reported.
A circular from Hutchinson House in Chicago offers “a rare find” of wallet-size pictures of Nazi leaders, along with enamel swastika rings and SS service badges. “All orders are shipped in plain wrappers,” recipients are advised.
War memorabilia from Britain, Japan, Poland and the U.S.S.R. are also offered as part of the “Hutchinson Collection.” However, a brochure from Delta International in Lafayette, California is devoted entirely to Nazi mementos, except for a Japanese Imperial battle flag and “old Ku Klux Klan membership tokens” the AJ Congress said.
DESECRATION OF THE MEMORY OF MILLIONS
Rabbi Yaacov Rosenberg of Philadelphia, chairman of the Commission on Jewish Affairs of the AJ Congress, called the catalogues “a shocking desecration of the memory of the millions of men and women of every race and religion who died at Nazi hands. There was nothing romantic about Nazism. The only ‘souvenirs’ it left were the skeletons of its victims, the smoke from the mass crematoria in which they died and the tortured bodies and minds of those who survived.”
Rabbi Rosenberg said it is “outrageous that these symbols of murder and hatred should be offered for sale as souvenirs. And it is obscene that profit should be made through the glorification of one of history’s darkest chapters.”
The Delta catalogue contains photographs and descriptions of such items as a “Deutschland Erwache” (Germany Awake) banner “exactly as carried by the SS and SA political troops. . . at the Nurenberg party rallies”; the Nazi prison officer belt buckles “including ‘SS’ marks”; “Sieg Heil!” a stereo record of “the original spirit-stirring military music of the Third Reich,” including such songs as “Adolf Hitler’s very own personal march: ‘From Finland to the Black Sea'”; Brown Shirt storm trooper armbands; and gestapo identification tags in “excellent” condition.
In his statement, Rabbi Rosenberg said: “The catalogues suggest the existence of a significant market for this kind of material quite possibly of organized Nazi groups. While certainly of no immediate danger, the fact that this kind of poison continues to circulate nevertheless poses the threat of serious infection if the basic health of our society should deteriorate.”