Nazi memorabilia being sold at a Pickering, Ont., antique market prompted the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies (FSWC) to lodge complaints with the owner of the market, the Pickering mayor and the Durham police.
FSWC president and CEO Avi Benlolo said a community member visiting the Roadshow Antiques South market in Pickering alerted his organization last week to the display, which contained items worth about $5,000, including a deck of cards printed with swastikas, stamps featuring Hitler, a 1942 issue of the Nazi Party’s monthly magazine for political education, Hitler Youth pins, and a Nazi flag.
Benlolo, who went to see the display, said, “it’s very offensive. There are medals from World War II, Nazi medals, all kinds of documents, some training manuals… I think you’ve got to be someone who is a white supremacist or neo-Nazi to buy this material.”
Benlolo said letters sent to Pickering Mayor David Ryan and the owners of the flea market have so far gone unanswered,
“but the police appreciated the tip. When we arrived [at the antique market], they were there.”
He said while police haven’t opened an investigation, since it isn’t illegal in Canada to trade or sell Nazi memorabilia, “they’re curious about who might be involved or buying this stuff.”
Germany, Austria and France have strict laws against Holocaust denial, as well as laws regarding the sale of Nazi memorabilia, but in Canada, it’s legal.
“We don’t believe that this should be on public display. These types of artifacts should be in museums or educational facilities where people can use them to become educated about the Holocaust, about humanity and atrocities that were committed,” Benlolo said.
“We think this legitimizes what they did and in fact, it is celebrating it. One person that one of my colleagues spoke to actually said that her husband admired Hitler. That’s the kind of market this is targeting… This is not just a Jewish issue – 45,000 Canadian soldiers were killed in World War II fighting against the Nazis. For Canadians in general this is offensive.”