A memory plaque is stuck into a pile of pebbles on the barbed wired premisses of the KZ Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp, in Oswiecim, Poland commemorates the six million Jews killed during the Holocaust. Online auction site eBay has apologized after apparent Holocaust memorabilia, including the clothes of concentration camp victims, was being offered for sale on the site.
Photograph by: JANEK SKARZYNSKI , AFP/Getty Images
VANCOUVER — News that an online vendor was selling holocaust memorabilia on eBay — including the striped uniform of an Auschwitz victim, and the shoes and toothbrushes of other concentration camp victims — has ignited outrage around the globe.
The seller was identified by the Daily Mail as a “Viktor Kempf, a Ukrainian now living in Vancouver, Canada.”
B’nai B’rith Canada CEO Frank Dimant said, “I cannot envision any person wanting to collect memorabilia of this nature. It belongs in museums, or with the families of those that were murdered. It’s grotesque.
“This would not be for serious collectors but for people from the far right and that is of grave concern to me. It shouldn’t fall into the hands of neo-Nazis who would mock the people that died in the holocaust.”
Dimant commended eBay for acting swiftly to remove the items from its website. The sale of holocaust memorabilia is illegal in most EU countries, but not in the UK.
Dimant said online giant Amazon.com continues to sell and ship Nazi replica flags, pins and armbands and have not responded to requests from International Jewish organizations to remove them.
The timing of the eBay auction was of particular concern, said Dimant, as it came on the eve of the 75th anniversary of Kristallnacht, the 1938 pogrom that was one of the darkest moments in Jewish history.
Dimant’s own father was a survivor of Auschwitz. “I still have the (Auschwitz) uniform of my father that he wore when he was liberated from a death train outside of Munich. It was part of him. We treasure it because it reminds us of the suffering of our people and the thankfulness that we now live in a democracy.”
Vancouver Rabbi Dina Mercy said, “It’s horrific to try and profiteer off that incredible disaster. If something can’t be returned to a person’s family it can be donated to Yad Vashem, the holocaust museum in Israel.”
The Daily Mail quoted Kempf as saying, “I understand why people may think profiting is wrong but I sell these items to document (them) and fund my book projects.”
The Vancouver Sun was unable to confirm Kempf is a resident of Vancouver.
The domain registration for Kempf included a Russian email, a Vancouver phone number that is out of service, and a Marpole apartment that has a different name on the buzzer. There was no answer at another phone number The Sun obtained for Kempf in Russia.