Friday, 12 Aug 2022 - 15 of Av, 5782

Lebanese businessman buys over 600,000 euros of Nazi memorabilia at controversial auction and gives them to Jewish community

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“We were not prepared, in this cynical world in which we live, to expect an act of such kindness, such generosity and such solidarity as demonstrated by Mr Chatila. It is clear he understood our aggravation and hurt at the sale, and decided to do something about it in a way that nobody foresaw. We greatly appreciate his understanding that such items have no place on the market, and should ultimately be destroyed. But that he chose to give the items to Jews shows a remarkable conscience and understanding.’’

Rabbi Margolin spoke to Mr Chatila to thank him, and Mr Chatila has accepted an inviation to come to Auschwitz on a delegation organised by the EJA for 100 parliamentarians from across Europe, where the businessman will be awarded for his act.

BRUSSELS—Following last week’s controversial auction of Nazi memorabilia by Hermann Historica in Munich that was raised by the European Jewish Association (EJA) and let to massive uproar and media attention, a prominent Lebanese businessman, Abdallah Chatila, picked up on it and has bought over 600,000 euros of it with the sole purpose of giving it to the Jewish community to do with it as it sees fit, the EJA announced on Sunday.

Besides the top hat belonging to Hitler and the rare edition of Mein Kampf, he also bought the personal Fuhrer’s cigar box, a silver frame offered to SS commander Ulrich Graf, several handwritten letters to his childhood friend August Kubizek, a box to silver music, Edda Göring’s baptismal gift in 1938, or the typewriter Traudl Junge, Hitler’s assistant, used to capture the Nazi leader’s texts. “I first wanted to buy these objects to destroy them” he told a French newspaper, before deciding instead to give them away to the main fundraising organisation of the Jewish community to do with them as they see fit.

In a statement released on Sunday,  EJA Chairman Rabbi Margolin, said, “We believe that the trade in such items is morally unjustifiable and it seemed, given the uproar and outrage that led up and following the auction and acres of media coverage, that we were not alone.’’

He added, “We were not prepared however, in this cynical world in which we live, to expect an act of such kindness, such generosity and such solidarity as demonstrated by Mr Chatila. It is clear he understood our aggravation and hurt at the sale, and decided to do something about it in a way that nobody foresaw. We greatly appreciate his understanding that such items have no place on the market, and should ultimately be destroyed. But that he chose to give the items to Jews shows a remarkable conscience and understanding.’’

Rabbi Margolin spoke to Mr Chatila to thank him and he accepted an invitation to come to Auschwitz on a delegation organised by the EJA for 100 parliamentarians from across Europe, where the businessman will be awarded for his act.

‘’Mr Chatila’s inspiring act is a story that deserves to be told at the highest levels, and we invite him, as our guest, to do so there where we will present him with an award for his act,’’ Rabbi Margolin  said.

According to AFP, Chatila, who has made a fortune from diamonds and real estate in Geneva, told the Matin Dimanche weekly that he had “wished to buy these objects so that they could not be used for the purpose of neo-Nazi propaganda.

 

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