UPDATE: Bowing to public pressure, Maynards auctions has pulled all the Nazi memorabilia it had planned to put up for auction in Richmond on Saturday. The items included Nazi Germany military and police helmets, Nazi pins, a German Luftwaffe officer’s dagger, a brass wall plaque, all emblazoned with swastikas and a Nazi flag.
Members of the Jewish community and Richmond politicians took to social media Friday afternoon expressing their outrage and disgust at the proposed auction.
“Dripping with the blood of six million Jews,” is how Michael Sachs, the past-president of Richmond's Bayit Synagogue, described the items.
The items should not be sold for profit, he added. Rather they belong in a museum or educational institute where they can be displayed with the right context.
“(Maynards) should know better than to play in such a volatile part of history and allow someone to make a profit of it,” Sachs said. “These items are literally dripping with the blood of six million Jews – I know it sound extreme, but it’s true.”
The auction, which will still go ahead but without the Nazi items, is called the “Firearms & Militaria Auction” and includes a large collection of guns as well as military paraphernalia from around the world, for example, a 19th century Japanese ivory-cased sword and a Burmese silver/bone mounted dagger.
Earlier in the day, Hugh Bulmer, vice-president with Maynards, defended the sale, saying history can’t be swept under the rug and the stories around these items need to be kept alive.
“It’s part of history,” he said, adding there are also British items and American items from the time of slavery.
But the condemnation was widespread on Facebook from Richmond’s municipal and provincial politicians with the mayor, Malcolm Brodie, calling the auction “inappropriate in the City of Richmond for so many reasons.”
Richmond-Queensborough MLA Jas Johal asked Maynards on Facebook to remove the Nazi material from the auction, saying that Maynards “must do better.” He added that “An auction that sells Nazi memorabilia is not acceptable in any community, never mind one as diverse and caring as Richmond."
Coun. Chak Au said in his Facebook post that the sale of these items was “disgusting.”
“I propose that the City contact the auctioneer and express our disapproval and demand it to be removed from the list of auction items,” Au said on Facebook.
Sachs said that if even one item from Nazi Germany is sold in a legitimate auction, they will start popping up everywhere.
Bulmer said the collectors who come to Maynard’s auction are collectors and dealers, both local and international, and they include people of all ages and ethnic groups including Jewish collectors.
“We deal with people who are regular collectors of arms and armour,” Bulmer said. “There’s no thought that we had any right-wing interest here.”
However, later on Friday, Bulmer told the media he had heard from the community and Maynards had decided to withdraw the items from the sale.