An auction of swastika-emblazoned tableware scheduled to open tonight has been cancelled by the Belfast auction house, Bloomfield Auctions. The cancellation followed interventions and condemnation from from Campaign Against Antisemitism and the local Jewish community after BBC Northern Ireland exposed the planned auction.
Campaign Against Antisemitism is relieved that it has been cancelled. It should sicken anybody to eat from the same dishes likely used by Nazi war criminals which bear their swastika emblem. This is a case where instead of seeking to earn a commission, the auction house should have had regard for the survivors of the Holocaust and the families of its victims, who would have been distressed and repulsed by this sale.
Neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups fetishise relics of Nazi Germany like these. It is incumbent on auction houses to ensure that the trade in Nazi mementos is stamped out.
Bloomfield Auctions posted a statement on their Facebook page saying that: “In light of the sensitivities around the Adolf Hitler items, we have taken the decision to withdraw them from sale for now and will not be sold at Bloomfield Auctions in the future.”
The silver cutlery set, tablecloth and napkins are said to have been produced for Adolf Hitler’s 50th birthday. The tablecloth is embroidered with the letters “DR” for Deutsche Reichsbahn — German National Railway — and a swastika. Four small napkins with similar embroidery form part of the collection. The silver forks, knives and spoons all feature the Deutsche Reichsbahn crest.
BBC Northern Ireland reported that Bloomfield Auctions stated in its Facebook post that the tableware was intended for use in a carriage that was to form part of Hitler’s personal train just before the outbreak of World War Two. In the post, the auction house said the tablecloth was “probably the only one known to exist today”.