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Why do I want to collect German WWII artifacts?

Discussion in 'Militaria' started by Incessant, Mar 9, 2015.

  1. Incessant

    Incessant New Member

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    I, a Jewish man, have always found a calling to WWII history and the holocaust. Perhaps not surprising given the levity of the war and my obvious ties.
    What has perplexed me is why I would want to own period items with a swastika. For surely, this would make me a Nazi? A bad person? Or at the very least, "of poor taste"? Would it not?
    I grew up with grandparents who refused to own anything German.

    In my research online a stumbled across an interesting article from PBS.org regarding Nazi items at the antiques roadshow. It was in response to complaints the show received for appraising an item signed by war criminals.

    Here is a link to the article and excerpts that hit home for me.

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/roadshow/fts/miamibeach_201003A24_2.html

    "Because of their ubiquity, antiques related to the Nazis appear in front of ROADSHOW appraisers with some regularity. It's a large market, and Schrader says that many of the most dedicated collectors he meets are Jewish men and women who feel responsible for bearing witness to the Holocaust. "

    "Never forget is a phrase often invoked when contemplating the Holocaust; we must never forget that it happened, so that it might never happen again. Part of keeping that memory alive must involve maintaining the physical evidence of it. Strange as it may at first seem, a market in which history-minded collectors place a monetary value on Nazi artifacts, and in which they buy and sell them to other collectors — or donate them to museums — can serve a role in preserving our collective historical memory. If an object has no value, it will eventually be disregarded and thrown away. That memory will die. And then we will have forgotten. "



    In discussions with my wife regarding the subject of owning a piece of history such as this, it made me recall my trip to German and Polish concentration camps, particularly my visit to Birkenau. I spent countless hours of my life learning about the war and the holocaust. I've seen all of the movies. I've read the names of my lost relatives. However nothing I read, watched or understood could have prepared me for the feelings I would have standing on the train tracks leading to the camp. It was as if a great sadness of all those lost filled my very being. It made it all REAL. For pehaps the first time in my mind, soul and body.. It really happened, and it happened here. As terribly sad as it was, I cherish the experience.

    So I believe much like being at the camps made it real in a way it could never have been otherwise, permanently etched in my mind and a part of who I am- so owning pieces of the regime that started it all does. Makes it real, in such a way that hopefully no one will ever forget.

    -Rhad
     
    Smiley 2.0 likes this.
  2. Skipper

    Skipper Kommodore

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    Hi Rhad, ten reasons come to mind . Collecting them does not make you a bad person.

    1)The fact that you own some genuine relics are both a reminder that the Nazis did exist and they are evidence . Lest we forget.

    2)Also they are pieces of history. A WW2 museum without Nazi items wouldn't be complete. You are preserving a world heritage.

    3) The fact that the war is only a few decades away has a lot of influence too. It is understandable that people may be shocked or do want to throw relics away . But put it this way : what if these relics were found intact in a few centuries?. How happy would people be if they were given a Gengis khan relic for example? Yet he was considered as a ruthless murderer too .

    4) relics have no ideology.

    5) You live in a free country, collecting trophees is your right. This is what our forefathers fought for

    6)these objects are worth money : see it as an investment.

    7)As a Jew, it's only fair to keep trophees of your defeated enemies. Tell people relics are like a scalp and they'll understand.

    8) if you like it, no justification is needed. it shouldn't be taboo.

    9) Considerer it as art: one has to admit some insignias are very well crafted.

    10) being a jew is a good defense in case someone calls you names because you collect Nazi relics.

    Hope this helps a bit, just my two cents.
     
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  3. KJ Jr

    KJ Jr Well-Known Member

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    Great response to that question. Well said.
     
  4. Incessant

    Incessant New Member

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    Thanks Skipper, those are terrific points and very much appreciated.
     

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