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Auction of Nazi Memorabilia

7 August 2019

 

Ms O'CONNOR question to PREMIER, Mr HODGMAN

In Launceston today, Nazi memorabilia including a Hitler Youth belt buckle and a SS ring will be sold at auction. We can only imagine what sort of buyer it will attract. As you know, the SS were the most extreme military unit of Hitler's Third Reich responsible for the murder of six million Jews. Nazi memorabilia listed for auction in Melbourne last October was withdrawn by the auction house for sale in response to a request from the Jewish community. Do you agree with Dvir Abramovich, Chairman of the Anti-Defamation Commission, that the items for sale were 'sickening', 'perverse' and symbolised 'humanity's darkest period'? As Dr Abramovich says, 'If you ignore something, you empower it'. Will you today, on behalf of all Tasmanians and in particular the Jewish community, condemn the auction of these items and, further, will you consider banning the sale of Nazi memorabilia?

 

ANSWER

Madam Speaker, I thank the Leader for the Greens for question. It is a serious matter and of great importance to our community, especially those with Jewish heritage and those who would hope not to see this sort of thing occur, which I would strongly suggest is the vast majority of Tasmanians. I do not appreciate the sale of items such as these nor believe it would be welcomed by the Tasmanian community. While this particular organisation is not breaking any law, it clearly does break a community standard and it creates unnecessary distress and concern to our Jewish community and Tasmanians more broadly.

I do not believe, as I think the member suggested on radio interview, that items such as these should be destroyed because there is a place for things like this including museums and other places that reflect on atrocities committed in the past. They serve as a prompt and reminder of what occurred but also as a symbol of what must never, ever happen again. There are appropriate places for that to occur and they exist in Europe and across the world in relation to the Holocaust and other atrocities that have been committed. I believe there is a place for these items but it is not at auctions for private sale.

With respect to the second part of the question, I will take that on notice and further consider the matter.

I would hope the business involved would do the right thing and not put these items up for sale. It creates unnecessary distress for what I could imagine would only be a material exchange. The sale will impact on our community, especially those with a heritage and connection with the atrocities that were committed and it will only bring great distress.