British newspaper discovers Holocaust mementos on EBay

Reuters, LONDON

Mon, Nov 04, 2013 - Page 6

EBay has removed from its listings about 30 items of memorabilia from the Holocaust, including clothes worn by concentration camp victims, after a newspaper investigation discovered that they were on sale on the e-commerce Web site, Britain’s Mail on Sunday said.

The newspaper said its reporters found a range of items on the site last week, including what was presented by the vendor as a complete Auschwitz uniform worn by a Polish baker who perished in the Nazi death camp.

The Mail said it had alerted EBay and that the online auctioneer had removed 30 items from sale and offered to make a donation of £25,000 (US$40,000) to a suitable charity.

In a statement, EBay said: “We are very sorry these items have been listed on EBay and we are removing them. We don’t allow listings of this nature, and dedicate thousands of staff to policing our site and use the latest technology to detect items that shouldn’t be for sale.”

“We very much regret that we didn’t live up to our own standards. We have made a donation to charity to reflect our concern,” said the company, which receives a commission on items sold and charges vendors a listing fee.

The Mail said EBay had been unable to say how long such items may have been for sale on its Web site.

The paper said the purported Auschwitz uniform had been priced at £11,300 by the vendor, a Ukrainian man based in Canada, who had sold another batch of clothing purporting to be linked to Auschwitz for US$18,000 last year.

The report quoted the vendor, named as Viktor Kempf, as saying he had been criticized in the past for selling such items, but did so to “document” them and to fund history book projects.

“I don’t want people to think I’m just doing it for the money. These periods in history are horrific, nobody should ever forget them,” Kempf was quoted as saying.

Other items found on EBay by the British paper included shoes and a toothbrush said to have belonged to concentration camp victims, as well as yellow Star of David armbands used by the Nazis to identify Jews for persecution.