The local auctioneer behind the sale of Nazi flags and memorabilia is defending the decision, saying he does not take a view on the items they sell.
Lipscombe Auction House on New St held an auction over the weekend which included various WW2 memorabilia, including three flags emblazoned with the Nazi swastika for sale in its show room.
The sale of Nazi memorabilia is banned or at least restricted in a number of European countries, including Germany and France, but not in New Zealand.
However, auctioneer Warwick Savage says that they are an auction house and do not “take a view” on the items they sell.
“A few months ago, we sold a German dagger and no one minded … we stay neutral. “If people want to complain on Facebook that’s fine … as an auction house we put up what people want to sell.”
Over the weekend police responded to a complaint of vandalism after the words ‘Nazi Scum’ were written on the auction house’s door.
An online list of the 188-lot “Militaria, Model Ships & Police Unclaimed Auction” showed that hundreds of dollars were bid for the Nazi memorabilia, with one flag selling for $700.
New Zealand Jewish Council spokeswoman Juliet Moses says she recognises there is no law banning the sale of Nazi memorabilia, and some people collected the items as a matter of historical interest or record.
But the flags were also offensive to many Kiwis.
“It is highly disturbing for a range of New Zealanders. The Jewish community finds it very disturbing and so do many other Kiwis, some of whom would have lost family members fighting the Nazis,” she says.
Juliet says the flags would also likely cause hurt to the families of those killed and wounded in the horrific attack on the Christchurch mosques last year.
“I just hope the people who are selling them and the people who eventually end up buying them don’t use them to glorify the regime and do put them in the appropriate context and use them in the appropriate context,” she says.
Lipscombe Auction House gave little description about the flags on its business page.
It is unclear if they are genuine historical flags from Germany or Nazi memorabilia created afterwards.
Juliet says while military gear from World War II might hold interest to collectors and researchers, it was hard to see the value in Nazi flags.
“These are just flags emblazoned with swastikas – they are simply emblematic of the Nazi regime. It is hard to attach any other significance or value to them,” she said.
“Even more so if they are not historical.”
Online auction company Trade Me is among companies that have banned most Nazi items from being sold on its website.
–With NZ Herald