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The pencil purportedly belonging to Hitler which will be listed for auction next week. Bloomfield Auctions/PressEye/PA
Nazi memorabilia

Belfast auction house urged to withdraw the sale of a pencil belonging to Hitler

Oliver Sears, whose mother is a Holocaust survivor, said the auction is about ‘making money at all costs without any consideration of the morality of what they are doing’.

AN AUCTIONEER IN Belfast has been urged to stop the sale of a pencil which purportedly once belonged to Nazi leader Adolf Hitler.

The ornate silver-plated pencil is set to go under the hammer at Bloomfield Auctions in east Belfast next week, as well as a signed portrait of the notorious dictator who led the regime responsible for the Holocaust.

The pencil is believed to have been given to Hitler by his long-term partner Eva Braun as a gift for his 52nd birthday on April 20, 1941.

It is inscribed with ‘Eva’ in German and the initials “AH”.

The pencil is estimated to sell for between £50,000 and £80,000 (€58,000 and €93,000), while the photograph is expected to sell for between £10,000 and £15,000 (€12,000 and €17,000).

Dublin-based art dealer and gallery owner Oliver Sears, whose mother is a Holocaust survivor, told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland that the auction is about “making money at all costs without any consideration of the morality of what they are doing”.

He added: “My mother is an 84-year-old Holocaust survivor, does she and her troop really have to endure this?

“There must be a line somewhere where a moral sense of decency simply precludes an individual from wanting to make money out of this trade.”

Sears also told Morning Ireland that legislation should be enacted to prevent the sale of such items.

“We have reached a stage where we are going to have to bring in legislation,” said Sears, “because there are still a few businesses that insist on trading in this material.”

Fianna Fáil Senator Lorraine Clifford-Lee told Morning Ireland that she plans to introduce a Private Members’ Bill to prohibit the sale of memorabilia associated with Nazism.

“It is absolutely repulsive that anyone should seek to profit from the most horrendous regime in memory,” Clifford-Lee told Morning Ireland.

“We also have to think about what is going on in the current day, we have the rise of fascism here in Ireland, but right across Europe as well, and these types of sales and these types of items are interlinked with that rise in fascism.”

‘A piece of our past’

Karl Bennett is the managing director of Bloomfield Auctions and said they expect interest from around the world, particularly from specialist collectors.

Bennett said he could understand why some may have reservations about items belonging to Hitler being sold, and emphasised such sales are not about memorialising the Austrian-born dictator.

“I understand why some people may struggle to understand why items like these are sold and collected, but for me, as a high-end collector of militaria items, they preserve a piece of our past and should be treated as historical objects, no matter if the history they refer to was one of the darkest and most controversial in recorded history,” he said.

“These items give us concrete ties to the past so that we can never forget.”

Speaking to Morning Ireland, Bennett added: “These are not people who are buying it and selling it for profiteering.

“It’s been in one person’s collection for 21 years and that person has now passed, and it is now part of an estate, and I believe the purchaser will be a serious collector and it will be in their collection for quite a considerable period of time.

“If it is not an individual, I think it certainly could be a very well-noted museum.”

In 2019, Bloomfield Auction cancelled a similar sale of Nazi memorabilia.

The auction back in 2019 was set to include a dinner set which was reportedly part of a railway dining carriage that was present to Hitler on his 50th birthday.

When asked by The Journal why this auction was going ahead despite the criticism and cancellation of the 2019 sale, a spokesperson from Bloomfield Auctions said: “Bloomfield Auctions is a specialist auction house for militaria across all centuries. 

“All items are a part of history, and we shouldn’t be writing history out of books or society.

“In the auction’s house experience, those who buy such items are legitimate collectors who have a passion for history.

“We do not seek to cause hurt or distress to any one or any part of society. All items have a story and tell of a particular time in history.”

-With additional reporting from Press Association

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