Why Would Anyone Collect Nazi Memorabilia ?

By Ben Marks

When we started inviting people to post items from their collections on Show & Tell, we knew that sooner or later we’d be faced with a Nazi swastika. At first, we simply followed the lead of eBayand deleted anything with a Nazi swastika on it that was not a coin or a stamp. But then we noticed that the handful of people who were uploading these World War II medalshelmets, and badges appeared to be sincere militaria collectors, not neo-Nazis trying to sneak an offensive image onto our site.

The problem, of course, with anything bearing a Nazi swastika, regardless of its historical value, is that most people find the symbol offensive. It was the banner of Adolf Hitler and the Third Reich, which was responsible for the slaughter of some six million Jews, millions of ethnic Serbs and Poles, and hundreds of thousands of gypsies, people with disabilities, and homosexuals. Of the countries the Nazis attacked, the Soviet Union lost almost 20 percent of its population or 23 million souls, roughly three million of whom perished in prisoner-of-war camps.

But for collectors like Kevin Mackey, Nazi memorabilia, particularly those bearing the swastika, are unambiguous reminders of this suffering. Though upsetting to many, Mackey believes these pieces have a place in any discussion of World War II. “To obliterate the symbols of Nazi Germany,” he says, “would be to obliterate that period from our knowledge, and to forget what took place. We need to be aware of what caused Nazi Germany, what happened, and how much horror came to this world because of it.”

1. Theodor Fritsch's "Handbook of the Jewish Question" laid the groundwork for German anti-Semitism in 1896. When this edition was printed during the Nazi era, its cover bore a swastika. 2. Many of the flags and pins collected by people interested in Nazi artifacts were made by a company called Bernard Richter, whose 1935 catalog is shown at top.1. Theodor Fritsch’s “Handbook of the Jewish Question” laid the groundwork for German anti-Semitism in 1896. When this edition was printed during the Nazi era, its cover bore a swastika. 2. Many of the flags and pins collected by people interested in Nazi artifacts were made by a company called Bernard Richter, whose 1935 catalog is shown at top.

Via Neatorama,read the entire article at Collector’s Weekly

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~ by The 1955 Hudson on June 24, 2011.

One Response to “Why Would Anyone Collect Nazi Memorabilia ?”

  1. […] Why Would Anyone Collect Nazi Memorabilia ? (the1955hudson.com) Share on Facebook Tagged as: Adolf Hitler, Der Spiegel, Eastern Front, History, Nazism, New York, New York Times, World War II Leave a comment Comments (0) Trackbacks (0) ( subscribe to comments on this post ) […]

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