Nazi souvenirs on sale in Tel Aviv





Recently, it seems that for many this is indeed true. Nine months ago, right-wing groups around the world celebrated Hitler's 120th anniversary. These celebrations were accompanied by all sorts of sickening sales. It's hard to make a buck from suffering and atrocities, so organizers turned to the Fuhrer's other handiwork: Hitler's paintings were sold for prices of about $350,000.

However, turning murder into consumer items is not a new industry: Stalin and Mao Zedong have already had their portraits printed on T-shirts worn by fashion-conscious yet ethically dubious millions. But unlike his mass-murder colleagues, Hitler has yet to become a cultural icon – a situation soon to change, judging by the stalls at Tel Aviv's flea market.

As he shows me a Nazi officer's clock ($1000), another dealer says his agent has been traveling among remote German villages for years. "Only in those rural areas can one still find valuables like these," he says. "In the big cities, you won't find anything like that."

But in Israel's big city you can? "I don't see anything wrong with it," he says. "These are collectors' items."

And would you also sell shoes, glasses or clothes worn by Jews who were murdered in the Holocaust? "No, that's a different matter," he says. "You'll be surprised to know that many buyers are children of survivors. They are obsessive buyers. I think it's a classic case of the victim identifying with his attacker."

He continues to explain the Stockholm Syndrome, characterized by the development of empathy with one's tormentor, but someone else overhears, and expresses an interest in the items. Her explanation for this trade is different, and sheds a revealing light.

"I think it has value. Precisely now, when Holocaust denial is gaining around the world, people should keep evidence about this period," she says, and takes out her purse.


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