The son of a Holocaust survivor has criticized the sale of Nazi memorabilia at an upcoming auction in Ireland.
Mullen's auction house at Laurel Park in Bray will auction a statue of Hitler in uniform, a plaque of Hitler, and a cast-iron novelty money box in the form of Hitler saluting at an upcoming auction on Saturday, March 11.
A total of 413 items will go up for auction on Saturday, including Hitler Youth and League of German Girls uniforms, Nazi badges, and a Nazi party rally armband.
Oliver Sears, whose mother Monica (86) is a survivor of the Holocaust, said the auction is "without any taste or moral compass".
Sears, who is the founder of Holocaust Awareness Ireland, suggested that Mullen's auction house should donate the collection to a museum free of charge.
Holocaust Awareness Ireland aims to bring awareness and understanding of the Holocaust to Irish society, while it also aims to advocate for democracy through a contemporary understanding of the Holocaust.
"There is no understanding of history, there is nothing of the hurt it causes people of my generation. There is no understanding of how these symbols are recycled and used by a growing far-right element. The idea that these are collectors’ items is beyond me," Sears told the Irish Times.
It is illegal to sell Nazi memorabilia in some European countries, but there is no such ban in Ireland or the UK. However, prominent auction houses such as Sotheby's and Bonhams refuse to sell any items related to Nazi Germany.
Auctioneer Stuart Purcell of Mullen's auction house defended the sale of the collection, stating that the Nazi memorabilia came from two Irish collectors who are now deceased.
"It’s historical memorabilia. It was in a good percentage of the world. Even the postmen in Nazi Germany were wearing swastikas, firemen were wearing helmets with eagles and swastikas. German society in the 1930s functioned as a paramilitary society," Purcell told the Irish Times.
"From the age of 13, every boy had to be in the Hitler Youth. That was the law. Some people believe all this stuff belongs in a museum, but I don’t know any collection of Nazi memorabilia in Ireland or of anything related to the rise of fascism in Europe."
Other items in Saturday's auction include cutlery used by Michael Collins at his last meal on August 22, 1922, at the Eldon Hotel in Skibbereen and a photo album of 41 signed photographs of the 31 astronauts who took part in the Apollo space program, including Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin.
The auction will begin at 10 a.m. at the Laurel Park salesrooms in Woodbrook, Bray.