An antiques shop in St. Jacobs, Ont., that received backlash over selling a Nazi uniform is no longer making the item available for purchase.
St. Jacobs Antiques Market was selling the Nazi tunic, which has a party pin and armband, for $6,500. It was openly displayed in a clear case.
In a statement to CBC News, the store said it hopes to help preserve history and educate future generations about the horrors of the Second World War.
“Just to be clear, we do not support Nazism,” the statement said. “We have removed the tunic … It was not our intention to offend anyone.”
News that the uniform was being sold has prompted online backlash:
Please add your voice to the call to stop this sale <a href=”https://t.co/8otjePPUTY”>https://t.co/8otjePPUTY</a>
The statement by the antique dealers said they hope to work with the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies (FSWC) in the future.
The centre said it first learned about the item late last week after someone reported it to the Waterloo Regional Police Service.
As of Wednesday early afternoon, the police had not responded to CBC’s request for a comment.
Selling Nazi items not ‘good conscience’
Daniel Panneton, a spokesperson for the Wiesenthal centre, explained why selling a Nazi uniform is different from selling any other vintage item.
“The ideology that it represents is not dead and in fact is resurgent in many parts of the world. We have to take anything that could possibly glorify that ideology and trivialize the memory of what was done in its name very seriously,” he said.
“There is nothing that a Nazi tunic can teach an individual that they can’t learn better from a quality history book, lecture or education session.”
Panneton said the antiques dealers should consider the impact Nazi memorabilia can have on survivors of the war.
“We are still in the living memory period of World War II in the Holocaust, so we have to consider the impact that witnessing something like this would have upon Holocaust survivors or veterans who fought against the regime that it symbolizes,” he said.
“Either donate it [the Nazi uniform] to an established memorial or education institution, or destroy it.”
It is not illegal to trade or sell Nazi memorabilia in Canada, Michael Levitt, FSWC’s president and chief executive officer, said in a news release.
“While it’s not illegal to display or sell Nazi memorabilia, profiting off such items associated with the genocide of six million Jews and millions of others goes against good conscience,” said the former Liberal MP for Toronto’s York Centre.
Jaime Kirzner-Roberts, also from FSWC, previously told CBC News there should be laws that would make the sale of such items illegal in Canada.
“We find it very difficult to imagine any legitimate reason why someone would want to possess them,” she said.