WWII era memorabilia is a big seller on eBay. Viktor Kempf, 62 years old, specializes in dealing Nazi specific items. One particular item in his shop has one particular family outraged.
Kempf was trying to sell a concentration camp victim’s clothing on eBay for more than £11,000 . The man claimed that the particular auction item belonged to Wolf-Gierszon Grundmann, who died in Auscwitz in 1941.
On November 8th, Kempf told the Daily Mail: ‘I am ready to present the uniform to the family as a donation. And I would like to apologise to them for awaking sad feelings and bad memories.’
Grundmann’s relatives believe the uniform is a fake and have asked the police to investigate.
The Daily Mail has investigated the phenomena behind WWII relics and was sickened by the amount of auctions on eBay.
This craze has sparked a global outrage which led to eBay issuing an apology. The site has removed 30 items from the sales and have pledged to make a donation in the amount of £25,000 to charity.
The disgusted relatives of Grundmann accused Kempf of trying to earn a profit from exploiting personal tragedies.
Mr Grundmann’s daughter’s half-sister, Fani Simon, 66, said she would be asking Canadian police to investigate Kempf.
Ms Simon, who lives in Tel Aviv, Israel, said: ‘This is terrible and upsetting. I feel very angry.
‘We are absolutely sure this uniform is a fake, which means someone stole his identity.’
Vancouver Police confirmed that they are ready to open a fraud investigation.
Kempf told the Mail on Sunday that he bought the uniform from a collector in Holland who had obtained it from a dealer in America. Kempf added: ‘I never thought that I would cause any harm. It is not illegal to buy and sell these items.’
Dr Shimon Samuels, of the Simon Wiesenthal centre for Holocaust studies in Paris, said genuine clothing from Nazi concentration camps was rare: ‘When the camps were liberated there was a fear of typhus and everything was burnt as a precaution. So it is very unlikely that anything beyond a few rags would have remained.’
Records of the victims, which include serial numbers, are kept by various Holocause museums and are accessible online. This makes identity fraud simple. Grundmann from Proszowice, Poland, arrived in Auschwitz on January 16, 1941. Only a few months had passed when his family received a letter stating that he had died.
Rabbi Abraham Cooper from the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, California had said: ‘It is flat out disgusting for eBay, to profit from the prison garbs of Holocaust victims. They are on the same page as advertisements for major companies like Kia and McDonald’s. This is taking the sale of Nazi death camp memorabilia to the mainstream. It is deplorable.
eBay broke no United Kingdom laws by selling items from the Holocaust, however the same trade is banned in Germany, France, and Austria. Yahoo was sued in France for allowing Nazi memorabilia to be auctioned off in 2000.
Mrs. Clarke, whose father was shot a mere week prior to the liberation of Auschwitz said: ‘Many survivors of Auschwitz burnt their uniforms. But I do know of some who kept theirs, and other mementoes.”