Recently in Germany at auction house Hermann Historica in a sale of German Contemporary History, 842 lots including hundreds of Nazi items were sold. For many the idea that such material is available, much less attracting bids, is disgusting, even an abomination. They remember the 6 million Jews and 12 million others that were exterminated under Hitler and would shun the perpetrators and shame the buyers but that is not how the system works. People have a right to buy and sell such disgraced and disgraceful material and in this recent sale most items sold. It turns out there are always buyers for one reason or another.
Most such material does not survive because its owners become embarrassed to be known to have it. Future generations that acquire such schmatta, will less feel the emotion of the slaughter that continues to haunt the living today, just as as many other categories of the similarly disgraced and disgraceful that once were soaked in blood remerge as artifacts. For Nazi material that may be a while.
We feel no comparable disgust or guilt for the wholesale extermination of indigenous populations in the New World that Europeans, 500 years ago, killed by the spreading of diseases for which natives had no defenses.
Neither do so many people feel the horror of the American black experience that was founded on slavery more than 300 years ago. Some say “get over it” but none who would say this would trade places with blacks who overwhelmingly continue to earn less, live shorter lives, and find less justice in the courts. Nevertheless, evidence of their tormented histories have become collectible. We forget.
Collectible materials reflect fashion and go into and out of favor as subjects wax and wane. No doubt some of these Nazi artifacts will in time gain standing as collectibles. In the current era however the answer is no. Jews enjoy unusual standing in the world community and will exert influence to punish deniers.
Here is a link to the recent sale: