Jewish advocacy group B’nai Brith Canada is calling for the removal of Nazi memorabilia from an antique shop based in Pickering, Ont.
“You don’t want items like this to be sold to those who glorify ideals of genocide, who glorify ideals of supremacy of any sort,” said Michael Mostyn, chief executive officer of B’nai Brith Canada.
SabreJack Antiques’ website lists Roadshow Antiques South, inside the Pickering Markets, as its shop address but the flea market shut its doors permanently in December.
On the website, there are a number of collections from ‘Wall Hangings’ to ‘Collectables’ and buried at the bottom, ‘Controversial Corner.’
Items for sale from that collection include a 1907 drawing by Adolf Hitler for $25,000 including a certificate of authenticity, a Nazi political party rank collar badge, and other items.
“Museums are there for this … but collecting it is something different,” said Mostyn, adding, “it is vile for all Canadians … to see this kind of memorabilia for sale.”
Pinchas Gutter, who survived Majdanek concentration camp, called the sale of Nazi memorabilia “disgusting.”
“They actually exude that kind of emotions and feelings of Nazi ideology, of complete contempt for any type of humanity or humanism … racism, xenophobia, I mean all these things are represented by this kind of memorabilia,” said Gutter.
He and his family were incarcerated in the Warsaw Ghetto until 1943.
“They would round up hundreds of Jews. They would shoot them for no reason. They would also shoot non Jews,” he recalled.
The family was deported to Majdanek, where Gutter’s parents and twin sister were murdered by the Nazis.
“It wasn’t just a war, it was a vicious murder … it was just murder, murder, murder and this is how it started and they were killing Jews and non Jews,” he said.
Gutter said he can’t understand why “any person of any kind of logic would want to deal in memorabilia that represents such a reprehensible time in our world.”
B’nai Brith Canada said it plans to contact the seller to have the items removed from the website.
SabreJack Antiques did not respond to calls and requests for comment from Global News by the time of publication.
Mostyn said it can feel like a game of “whack-a-mole,” as it is not illegal in Canada to sell Nazi memorabilia so this situation is not unique.
Avi Benlolo, former president and CEO of the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Centre for Holocaust Studies, said the sale of these items is not surprising, given what he called the “rising tide of white supremacists” and “rising tide of Nazi ideology both here in North America and around the world.”
Benlolo said he reached out to the same vendor in August 2017 when the shop was selling items that included a deck of cards printed with swastikas, stamps featuring Hitler, a Nazi flag and Hitler Youth pins.
“This kind of thing is frowned upon and is really seen as something that is abhorrent and is not ethically values and so to be associated with selling Nazi memorabilia is something that is just not acceptable in a free and democratic society,” he said.