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Sale of Nazi Memorabilia

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Thursday, 14 May 2020

Tags: Hate Speech, Racism

Cassy O'Connor MP | Greens Leader

In another act of hurt towards Tasmania’s Jewish community, a Launceston auction house again plans to auction off memorabilia associated with one of the most brutal, murderous regimes of the twentieth century.

This is not the first time profit has been made from Nazi memorabilia and it won’t be the last, unless Parliament takes action.

It must be so distressing to Tasmania's Jewish community and other groups persecuted by the Nazis to see these items put up for gawking and for sale.

Reports from previous auctions of Nazi memorabilia demonstrate these sales attract groups who idealise the Nazis and their belief in white supremacy. These auctions can feed anti-Semitism. They attract the wrong sort of people for all the wrong reasons.

We wrote to the former Premier, Will Hodgman, proposing his government draft legislation to ban the sale and display of Nazi memorabilia, other than for institutional and academic purposes. Regrettably, the then-Premier indicated he was not interested in progressing a ban on this offensive trade at that time.

Now is surely the time for the new Premier, Peter Gutwein, to make a firm and decisive stance against glorification of the Nazis and the Holocaust.

Since last year, after the then Premier’s lack of interest in the matter, we have been drafting a Bill to ban the sale and display of Nazi memorabilia except for approved purposes, such as for display in a museum.

We will not have opportunity to bring this Bill on for debate until Parliament returns to its usual order of business, but are prepared to do so later this year.

In the meantime, we respectfully encourage auction houses, sellers, and prospective buyers to carefully consider the morality of profiting from or collecting symbols of hate and attempted genocide.

While these objects have historical value, they are also still used to this very day to invoke fear and hatred. Any display of these items should be done with great sensitivity and for educational purposes only, so we don’t allow the terrible mistakes of the past to be repeated.