Military antiques expert Craig Gottleib is looking to sell several rare and valuable items that once belonged to Adolf Hitler.
But his search has inspired tense debate over whether it is wrong for someone to benefit from the sale of Nazi artifacts.
Certain countries, including Germany and France, and a few online auction companies, including eBay, have banned the sale of the Nazi items outright.
But is Gottleib, who claims his clientele are mostly history buffs, wrong to seek profit from items intimately linked to one of the darkest periods in human history?
People who deal in Nazi memorabilia need “to ask themselves pretty strong questions—think about what is ethical and what’s right about it,” Ken Jacobson, deputy national director of the Anti-Defamation League, told the Wall Street Journal.
Jacobson said there sometimes seems to be a “perverse aspect” to the purchase of such items.
But Gottleib defends his decision to seek buyers for his collection, saying Wednesday on TheBlaze TV’s Real News that he asks the questions Jacobson mentioned “every day.”
“For me,” he said, people like Jacobson “are not asking the right questions. The thing they should be asking is, number one, ‘Why is history important?’ and, number two, ‘Why are objects like this important?’”
“History’s important,” he continued, “because it informs current events today. When we talk about things like gun control, health care … studying history is a very relevant way to make sense of what is going on today. Number two, artifacts for me, I’ve found at least, are the most powerful way to experience history. For me, an artifact is like a time machine: I hold it in my hand; it’s first-person; it’s not like a museum, where exhibits are curated, or a book, where there’s an agenda.”
Gottleib said he believes artifacts can sometimes inspire people to question the motivations of certain historical characters and the times they lived in.
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Featured image via Craig Gottlieb Militaria