Collecting Nazi Memorabilia

The folks at Collector's Weekly used to delete references to Nazi items from their forum, but then considered the question of why people collect such things. Not everyone who collects Nazi memorabilia is a Neo-Nazi or a Hitler fan. Some subscribe to the philosophy summed up in a George Santayana quote: "Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it." They are also aware that some find any instance of the Nazi swastika offensive.
But for collectors like Kevin Mackey, Nazi memorabilia, particularly those bearing the swastika, are unambiguous reminders of this suffering. Though upsetting to many, Mackey believes these pieces have a place in any discussion of World War II. “To obliterate the symbols of Nazi Germany,” he says, “would be to obliterate that period from our knowledge, and to forget what took place. We need to be aware of what caused Nazi Germany, what happened, and how much horror came to this world because of it.”
But you don’t have to look very far, Mackey says, to see what happens when history, however upsetting, is expunged from a culture or society. “We have a leader of Iran today who says the Holocaust did not take place. But even my youngest daughter knows better, and she’s in junior high school. So we should not remove these pieces from the public knowledge, from public view. I don’t see it as a glorification of Nazi military items. I’m a historian—these are pieces of history.”

Included in the post about Nazi memorabilia are the opinions of Abraham H. Foxman, the national director of the Anti-Defamation League, author and sociology professor Stanislav Vysotsky, veterans, and other collectors. Link -Thanks, Ben Marks!

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"It's important to remain aware of these cultural remnants, rather than bury them." so true. sweeping them under the rug like they didn't happen isn't doing future generations any favors. i used to collect Nazi memorabilia (primarily patches and pins), although when my ex left several years back, they "mysteriously disappeared" despite the fact that i never paraded them around and certainly held no ideological connection to them. my collection was focused mostly on uniforms.

there are a lot of things that most true collectors will avoid, especially things related directly to the extermination camps. that stuff is considered too sensitive and, quite frankly, too creepy and really belongs more in museums and holocaust memorials. the little militaria shop that i used get most of my stuff from generally refused to buy/trade in anything that could be linked directly to a concentration camp. one time, the owner told me a story about how a guy came in and offered to sell him an empty Zyklon B cannister. he wasn't sure if it was authentic (probably not), but he said he didn't care and proceeded to chew the guy a new one for five minutes before telling him in no uncertain terms to get out of his store and that he wasn't welcome back.

in fact, that store owner would get the occasional neo-Nazis in the store, and he would refuse to sell them anything German. i happened to be in his store once when a couple skinhead-types came in. after a short conversation with them, he said, "oh, you can look around all you want, but i'm not selling you anything". a couple days later someone broke out his front window and after that, he kept the front door locked and would only let in known customers.
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My brother in law collected WWII memorabilia including some Nazi stuff for a while - helmets, badges, arm bands etc... He certainly isn't a closet Nazi sympathiser; in fact being Ukrainian, many of his people were killed in the Holocaust. He is just fascinated with modern history.
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This is related to the awkward subject of racist memorabilia, which is so collectible that new manufacture of "mammy" cookie jars and the like is booming business. Ew.

My grandfather had some swizzle sticks he thought were hilarious; they depicted naked African women at varying ages (the breasts sagged more with every decade. Oh, what fun). Rather than destroying them, I donated them to the Jim Crow Museum, along with a truly horrible "negro head" ashtray. It's important to remain aware of these cultural remnants, rather than bury them.
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