The popularity of a recent controversial auction in Germany, which sold relics belonging to high-level Nazi officials, highlights a growing obsession on the part of the far-Right to revive its connection with the perpetrators of the Holocaust, a leading antisemitism expert told The Algemeiner on Monday.
Kenneth Marcus — president and general counsel of the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law and author of The Definition of Anti-Semitism — was speaking in response to reports by German media that a mysterious Argentinian bidder spent approximately 600,000 euros ($679,000) on Friday to purchase Nazi memorabilia at a Munich auction titled: “Hitler and the Nazi grandees — a look into the abyss of evil.”
According to a report Monday in Germany’s The Local citing Bild daily, the buyer — dressed in dark clothing and a baseball hat — spent 275,000 euros ($311,000) alone on a uniform jacket belonging to Adolf Hitler. Silk underwear belonging to Gestapo founder and Nazi Air Force Commander-in-Chief Hermann Goering fetched 3,000 euros ($3,395). He also purchased the brass container that contained hydrogen cyanide, which Goering used to commit suicide hours before his scheduled execution in 1946 in Nuremberg.
In total, the mystery buyer — who refused to give his name to the Bild, but said he was “from Argentina” and bought the items “for a museum” — purchased more than 50 Nazi relics. Other attendees included “young couples, elderly men and muscular guys with shaved heads and tribal tattoos.”
What is even more intriguing about the mysterious buyer — and what Marcus said is “unlikely coincidental” — is that he identified himself at auction using the number “888,” which has ties to the neo-Nazi code “88.” According to the report, “88” marks the letter “H” in the alphabet and stands for the Nazi “Heil Hitler” salute.
“We are seeing an increasing fascination towards the Nazis in Europe at the same time that antisemitism is flaring up. Nazi memorabilia is increasingly fetishized and prized within the fetid corners of the world in which far-Right bigotry is reviving,” Marcus said. The auction itself, he contended, “is symptomatic of the broader resurgence of antisemitism and neo-Nazi ideology in Europe.”
“This is not just ‘neo’ Nazism. It is Nazism, pure and simple. In a sense, Nazism never entirely disappeared,” he told The Algemeiner. “Within much of the Western world, it simply went underground after World War II. Increasingly, however, it is resurfacing today as memories of the Second World War recede.”