This was a rather particular photo album, brought to public attention in June of this year. The mystery was solved. It was the work of Franz Krieger and was owned by someone in the fashion industry who needed money to finance medical care.The article comes from Lens, the photography blog of the New York Times.The photographs as expected, are fascinating and disturbing; a mix of war journalism and propaganda.To many, -the German website that initially posted the story had seven million visits- there must at some level, be a thrill of transgression, engaging in an admiration, even a fetish for that which is despised.Perhaps Susan Sontag’s theory on the erotic charge of Nazism was not mistaken. In any event, the Krieger story underlines how extensive the trafficking in Nazi memorabilia has become; a phenomenon that includes Israel as an active trader.
The Krieger album is also remarkable for showing the contrast between the meeting leaders and high officials as well as the squalor of the ghetto, foreboding death of POW’s and of picturesque snapshots of everyday life. Identifying the photographer is also a testament to the power of the internet,its reach among communities of users and a certain degree of luck that there existed an expert able to identify the information within several hours after its appearance.
David W. Dunlap:
There are certainly many photo albums of Nazi leaders and many photo albums of the Nazis’ victims. But it’s hard to imagine many albums depicting both, just a few pages apart.
At least one does, however, and it has surfaced in New York City. Its creator was able — apparently within weeks — to photograph Hitler as he warred on Russia and also to photograph some of the earliest victims of that brutal campaign, known as Operation Barbarossa, which began 70 years ago Wednesday….
…Two pages in this album, on the Eastern Front in 1941, are devoted to prisoners. Some are dressed in rags, some dressed in uniforms of the Red Army, some wearing jackets with Star of David patches. They stand before what might be freshly dug graves. (Their own? Their landsmen?) In six almost intimate pictures, verging on portraiture, men gaze hollowly or defiantly at the camera….
…Four pages later, there is Hitler himself, waiting at a train station for the arrival of Adm. Miklos Horthy, the regent of Hungary, with whom he will shortly be bargaining at the East Prussian war headquarters known as the Wolf’s Lair. The photographer stands just a few feet from Hitler, almost as close to the Führer as he stood to the Führer’s prisoners.Clearly, this photographer had a lot of access — and not a little talent….
Stall owner Paul Rea, who says he is not a Nazi supporter, has no apologies for what he is selling. Based in Co Down, he said he was getting more and more business in the Republic.
“Some people come up and go nuts when they see all this Nazi stuff but to be honest with you I don’t care. The Romanians are the worst because the Germans weren’t that kind to them during World War II. Other people complain about what happened to the Jews and the Holocaust but, you know, the Germans went through far worse after the war ended from the Russians. All their women were raped.
“I am not a Nazi myself. This is just a way of putting food on the table.”
Rea, whose stall was arousing interest from Sunday morning shoppers, claimed all his stock was original, with most of it coming from the US. “That’s where most of this Nazi stuff ended up. The GIs brought it back to America with them after the war and now it’s finding its way onto the market. Some of it comes out of Germany too, with families getting rid of family artifacts.” Read More:http://www.eurojewcong.org/ejc/news.php?id_article=2501a
…And had it not been found, it would have been just a drop in the ocean of Nazi memorabilia traded every year.
Last year British Holocaust denier David Irving set up a website selling Nazi memorabilia, which he claimed included a piece of bone from Hitler’s body and strands of his hair.
They were expected to fetch £130,000. In June 2005, a first-edition copy of Hitler’s book Mein Kampf, signed by him, fetched £23,800 at Bloomsbury Auction House, London.
Jonathan Humbert, of Northamptonshire-based JP Humbert Auctioneers, said a three-day sale of Nazi items last year raised a total of £90,000.
A single leering death’s head ring sold for £2,200.
While the country reels from the arrest of a neo-Nazi cell in central Israel, a vibrant underground trade of Holocaust-era items continues to thrive.
Bravery citations, identification papers, handguns, daggers, helmets and other wartime mementos belonging to Third Reich soldiers have all been the highlights of secretive auctions and private exchanges over the past 10 years.An SS uniform can cost anywhere between $1,500- $10,000, medals and citations cost around $100-$200 and helmets can cost up to $1,500. The price of similar items varies greatly and depends on the seniority (or notoriety) of its original owner.
The practice continues to be shrouded in silence and few are willing to discuss their hobby.
“No one knows about the existence of my collection,” says A, one of the most prolific traders in Israel, “I don’t talk about it, it’s harmless and I certainly don’t walk around with it in the street.”The 52-year-old has been collecting Nazi memorabilia for over two decades but despite having invested tens of thousands of dollars in it, his accumulated loot is kept carefully stored away in a dark basement in Ramat Gan….
…How much more would A be willing to spend to expand his collection? Quite a bit, he replies: “These items are priceless. And like in any market, it’s all a matter of supply and demand and there is very limited supply so you can do the math here.” Read More:http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3448885,00.html