Israeli justice blocked, Wednesday, November 3, the auction of metal needle plates used by the Nazis to tattoo prisoners in the concentration camp of Auschwitz, in Poland, where a million European Jews, and dozens of thousands of other prisoners, were killed during the Second World War, between 1940 and 1945. Associations of aid to the survivors of the Shoah had questioned the ministry of justice to stop this sale, envisaged on November 9, which caused outrage in Israel.
The auction lot consists of eight numbered stamps and an instruction booklet from the German company Aesculap. In the auction house catalog Tzolman, located in Jerusalem, it is described as “A shocking and extremely rare museum object of unprecedented historical significance”. Auction house owner Meir Tzolman said “To have received all the objects from a private individual in the United States who had obtained them from the concentration camp”, report The Jerusalem Post.
The price of the batch of items is estimated between 30,000 and 40,000 dollars (or nearly 26,000 and 34,600 euros) by Tzolman. The highest bid was $ 1,810 (€ 1,565) on Tuesday, reported The Times of Israel. The court ordered a “Temporary injunction” blocking the sale on Wednesday and set November 16 to hold a “Urgent hearing” on the subject.
Put an end to “a despicable sale”
Rabbi Menachem Margolin, president of the European Jewish Association, quoted by the media Hamodia, wrote a letter to Israeli justice minister Gideon Sa’ar. He called on the legislator to put an end to this “Despicable sale”. A group of Israeli organizations helping Holocaust survivors also appealed to the Tel Aviv district court to prevent the sale from taking place.
“Such evil objects cannot have owners,” says lawyer David Fohrer
According to Colette Avital, president of the grouping, the place of these plaques must be in a museum. “These objects should not be bought and sold and certainly should not be private property”, she told Agence France-Presse (AFP). They “Were used for particularly cruel crimes”, for “Turn human beings into numbers”, she added. “Such evil objects cannot have owners, said lawyer David Fohrer. Their sale is illegal and undermines public morals. “
Current Israeli law does not prohibit the sale of Nazi artifacts, according to Dani Dayan, president of Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem. “The solution may lie in the legislation”, he believes in the Times of Israel, recalling that the memorial does not buy items at auction, because it does not wish to encourage “Offers from greedy traders”.
Meir Tzolman declined to answer AFP’s questions since the sale was blocked. On Tuesday, he said there was no reason to cancel the sale, relates The Jerusalem Post. “I am the last to underestimate or belittle the value of the Holocaust. I want to make sure that the article falls into good hands and does not disappear from the pages of history ”, had he justified at the microphone of Galeï Tsahal, the radio of the Israeli army, reports The Times of Israel.
Faced with this sale that seemed to him “Morally unacceptable”, the Yad Vashem memorial ruled that the items should be returned to him.
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Sale of plaques to tattoo detainees in Auschwitz blocked by Israeli justice