Belfast Telegraph

Holocaust survivor's son calls for ban on auction of Nazi items

A Dublin art gallery owner has called for a ban on selling Nazi memorabilia in the UK and Ireland. (Julien Behal/PA)
A Dublin art gallery owner has called for a ban on selling Nazi memorabilia in the UK and Ireland. (Julien Behal/PA)
Allan Preston

By Allan Preston

A Dublin art gallery owner has called for a ban on selling Nazi memorabilia in the UK and Ireland.

Oliver Sears (50), the son of a Holocaust survivor, wrote to Bloomfield Auctions in Belfast on Monday to object to the planned sale of a dinner set belonging to Adolf Hitler.

He has now praised it for its decision to cancel the auction and said selling such items for profit should be outlawed.

"It's a good day, I am pleased that people occasionally stop and think. My view is that this trade shouldn't be legal anywhere," he told the Belfast Telegraph.

Selling Nazi memorabilia is legal in the UK and Ireland but has been banned in several European countries.

In 2017 Mr Sears spoke out against another auction house in Dublin for selling Nazi memorabilia. He sent his Bloomfield letter on to the owner Ian Whyte but said "the silence has been deafening".

Mr Whyte said he opposed a ban and that sales should be judged individually.

Having lost several family members during the Holocaust, Mr Sears said it was still a "living and breathing" issue for his family.

"My father lost his grandparents in Auschwitz," he said. "My mother Monika, who's still alive, was in the Warsaw ghetto and was put on a train bound for Treblinka but was thrown off it by her mother as a small child.

"Her father was taken away and murdered at the beginning of the war, so it's still really close for us."

Active in Holocaust awareness education, Mr Sears said he has frequently been trolled on the internet with anti-Semetic abuse using Nazi imagery.

Mr Whyte noted that the sale of Nazi memorabilia was not illegal in Israel or the United States.

"We have a democracy here so if somebody got MPs or TDs to agree to a ban then fine, I'm not sure it's the right thing to do.

"A lot of people selling items like this need the money. There's also collectors who have built things up over the years, so I would view each case on its merits."

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