Some Europeans leaning towards the far-right, and the current trend of revival and trivialization of Nazism in the region is disturbing. It seems that people don’t learn from the past, says Joel Rubinfeld from the Belgian league against anti-Semitism.
An Argentinian man spent over €600,000 to purchase Nazi memorabilia items, including Adolf Hitler’s trousers and Goering’s cyanide container, at Hermann Historica's weekend auction in Munich, reported Reuters.
The problem here, says Rubinfeld, is the purpose for which people are buying some private items of Nazi leaders of the Third Reich.
If it’s for a museum or teaching “it could be understandable,” he told RT. But if such items are purchased by someone who supports Nazi ideology or feels “nostalgic of Nazism, the Third Reich, Adolf Hitler or Goering… this is highly problematic.”
Rubinfeld suggests that people who spend fortunes buying Nazi memorabilia should probably use part of their money “to go to a psychiatric clinic” since it is “insanely crazy” to buy things like that.
“I am surprised and shocked that - especially in Germany - this kind of auction is allowed,” he added.
A pair of Hermann Goering’s silk underwear was reportedly sold at the auction for €3,000. The brass container for the hydrogen cyanide phial that the Nazi military leader used to kill himself in 1946, after the Nuremberg trials sentenced him to death, went under the hammer for €26,000. A pair of Adolf Hitler’s trousers with leather pockets fetched €62,000, while his jacket was sold for €275,000, reported Reuters citing German daily Bild.
The fact that there are people who are interested in buying such things is “very disturbing,” Rubinfeld said.
“I would like to know how it was allowed to put those items on auction,” he said.
“On this specific issue of the underwear, people who could be interested by this are insane. I don’t think that even a museum would be interested in buying underwear. It is more like a kind of fetishism. That is really disgusting and disturbing.”
According to the activist, this whole story indicates that there is some kind of increase of pro-Nazi sentiment in Europe. “There is a trend right now in Europe, the revival or Nazism, the trivialization of Nazism. I am very concerned by this. Look at the figures, look at the polls, look at the recent elections in several European countries,” he said.
Rubinfeld says that it’s now hard to say how things will develop in 10 or 15 years, but recalled that back in early 2000s activists had warned about the rise of radical Islamism and anti-Semitism.
“We said in the media – go back to the records – 10-15 years ago that if we don’t stop this trend, one day we will wake up in several European major cities with terrorist attack. That is what’s occurring today,” he added.
The danger now, Rubinfeld believes, is that in about a decade’s time, some European states might be led by far-right governments. The fact that such kind of auctions are being held and that Hitler’s book Mein Kampf becomes a best-seller only prove that “we are facing a problem in Europe” and that “people don’t learn from the past.”
“If you don’t learn from the past, you are doomed to live [through] those tragic moments again and again. So we need to put a stop right now to this trend. If not – it will be too late,” Rubinfeld concluded.