Consumers argue ethics of selling Nazi items

Jewish woman encouraging others to boycott antiques shop.
TNS Regional News
Jun 16, 2014


Lisa Wainer Wein and her husband were recently shopping at a Delaware County antiques shop when she spotted something that made her want to hurry out the door.

A World War II armband bearing a swastika was displayed in a case near the checkout counter at the Liberty Antique Mall in Powell. Wein, a Jewish woman who lives in Bexley, was so shocked that she wrote a letter to The Dispatch encouraging others to boycott the business.

“I have no problem with Nazi paraphernalia being available for education or history,” Wein, 37, said in an interview. “I don’t want to bury that stuff. I think it’s important that it exists and we’re reminded of it.

“My problem is that the store is profiting off of it.”

Although Wein balks at the thought of anyone making money off such wares, others counter that there’s nothing wrong with owners — sometimes U.S. veterans or their families — selling historically significant items to memorabilia collectors.

The items can command a decent price. Among other offerings in the display case were Nazi helmets, pins, medals, buttons and daggers, including one priced at $735. A German photo album had a $455 price tag.

“It’s a piece of history; there’s no changing that,” said Chris Freiheit, who owns the Liberty mall. “Just because you’re selling a certain item doesn’t mean you’re promoting an ideology.”

Freiheit, who rents mall space to about 35 vendors, said the Nazi items have been offered for about six months and sell well. He declined to reveal the name of the vendor who sells them.

If book publishers, film studios and museums can collect money by telling the stories of Nazi Germany, he asked, why is it improper for dealers of collectibles to generate a profit?

It’s wrong because 240 Holocaust survivors live in central Ohio, said Gordon Hecker, president and chief executive of the Jewish Federation of Columbus.

“To think that anyone anywhere would be profiting off the immense tragedy that these people experienced is a travesty,” he said. “What the Nazis perpetrated was a horrific genocide, a deliberate murder of millions of people — not just of the Jews, of many, many others — and that’s what the swastika represents to many people: cold-blooded murder.”

The sale of Nazi memorabilia is nothing new. It has long been a staple of gun shows and some antique dealers, Ohio State University history professor Peter Mansoor said.

“There’s just a certain segment of the population that’s fascinated with that era and with the Nazi history in particular,” he said. “It seems strange to some people, given the sordid nature and horrific nature of the Nazi regime, but ... people still collect Nazi artifacts, and they still have an interest in Nazi memorabilia.”

Some European countries restrict the sale of such items. Some private auctioneers, including the website eBay, also place restrictions on what types of Nazi memorabilia can be sold.

But dealers in the U.S. aren’t breaking a law and have a right to sell the items, said Anita Gray, a regional director for the Anti-Defamation League, which fights anti-Semitism.

“As despicable as I find it, I would defend that right,” she said. “It’s free speech.”

Craig Gottlieb of the History channel show Pawn Stars has been a bit of a lightning rod for his dealings in Nazi memorabilia, including a hat that belonged to Adolf Hitler valued at $1 million.

Gottlieb, whose military-antiques business is based in Solana Beach, Calif., said people who sell Nazi items are inviting controversy and should address it. Saddam Hussein’s uniform, for example, probably wouldn’t elicit the same reaction as Hitler’s, he said.

“I think there’s such a visceral reaction to what the Holocaust represents, to what the Nazis represent,” said Gottlieb, an ethnic Jew. “They represent institutional, wholesale annihilation, the beginning of genocide.

“Genocide got a name after World War II. Our most-proximate symbol of genocide, and how awful that is, is the swastika.”

Still, he believes that artifacts are “the closest you’re going to get to a time machine” and the best way to educate people about history. He reiterated Freiheit’s opinion that filmmakers and museums don’t educate about World War II stories for free, and people who deal in such artifacts shouldn’t, either.

“I do believe artifacts are important, and it’s OK and ethical to profit from them,” Gottlieb said. “This is a business, but I do take pride in knowing that I am preserving a part of history that other people don’t see as worth preserving.”

Jeff Jaynes, a professor of church history at Methodist Theological School in Ohio, which is in Delaware, teaches a course on the Holocaust and has spoken with many survivors. He said he has never encountered someone who has mentioned the sale of Nazi artifacts as particularly offensive.

But he finds the fascination with Nazi Germany troubling and said people who are offended should make it known to dealers.

“That kind of public statement is good, to let folks know ‘I do find this problematic,’” he said.


By JoAnne Viviano - The Columbus Dispatch, Ohio (MCT)

©2014 The Columbus Dispatch (Columbus, Ohio)

Visit The Columbus Dispatch (Columbus, Ohio) at

Distributed by MCT Information Services



boo hoo. this is america, not nazi germany. the whiner is 37 years old. not old enough to remember a holocaust. some whining liberal who believes in her way or no way..

Tippythehippy's picture

I know, right!? It is a part of history.


The war ended mid 40's... so according to math she wasn't even alive to remember it. If people never profited from the atrocities of man kid we'd have nothing... I bet she checks her email from a computer built by people paid a dollar a day to build the thing. Yes, the Holocaust was bad, but there's things happening today that she doesn't seem bothered with.


No doubt she's overreacting. I've been collecting Confederate artifacts for 20 years, and everyone I show them to appreciates their historical significance. Maybe she visited the holocaust museum in Washington D.C. and became overwhelmed or something. I think Nazi artifacts serve as visual reminders that help keep history from repeating itself.


There's more to fear having a copy of the Talmud which teaches that its ok to rape non Jewish 3 year olds and it teaches the correct way, making sure that Judaism doesn't get accused or blemished for the crime. This book in many Jewish families is OK, but don't collect or study things about crimes against them, sure, whatever she says.

Cliff Cannon

What an idiot, just trying to make a name for herself. I ask this question : In her lifetime both Rwanda as well as Cambodia lost some 25 % of their population's to genocide--- how did she respond to those horrific tragedy's ? ( No doubt she did absolutely nothing )

Further, in W.W. 2 the Japanese slaughtered who knows how many millions of Chinese---does she care ? Or what about the Koreans that they slaughtered at will or turned into " comfort girls " for the sexual gratification of their troops. Does she give a dam about them ?

Let's not forget Russia our 'ally' in W.W. 2 was led by Josef Stalin who starved to death some 20 million Ukrainians prior to the war. What does she think about those poor souls ? Or what about the 28 million Russians who died in W.W. 2, where do they fit into her self righteousness ?

The fact of the matter is that the German army ( and about every other American is of German descent ) lost exactly --zero battles ---- when they fought on even strength with their opponent. Further, they understood the psychological advantage of passing out promotions,medals, decals and cool uniforms.

So today, German army memorabilia is by far the most popular of W.W.2 collectibles. Which ranks them about even with the Confederate army for items collector's like " Rebel " seek.

What is almost impossible to find ( and I believe illegal to sell ) is S.S. items. Since they ran the camps.

Here's hoping this misguided young lady grasps this : Most Americans are so sick of hearing of the " Holocaust " while ignoring the plights of the Rwandans, Cambodians, Chinese and countless others they could vomit.

So if she want's to feel moral outrage in an effort to change the world. She should find an issue people aren't sick to death of.

swiss family

wow... now here is something new...Cliffy has an actual opinion, and it is not kissing someones butt??? what is going on??? I wish though that you would have saved this for your own personal column in the actual physical newspaper, where they put your picture with the story, those are the best in my opinion, because you usually start out talking about some childhood memory, then for some unknown reason take us into some meaningful statement that your Dad or Uncle or coach told you and from there go to an adventure to a different state while you were a truck driver working for any number of companies, which ironically have all gone out of business after you drove for them,and then you "tie things up, with your usual butt kissing of Mr Centers.. OH how I look forward to those..

I do have to say I can NOT believe you actually have an opinion!! you are again WRONG in your assessment in my opinion of course, but it is nice to see that you are not always throwing cotton candy and glitter at every story and always showing the "good" in everything.lets just take your first sentence , shall we??? "what an idiot>????and from there you blather about an assumption that you have no idea what she has or has not done to help other people in need...DO YOU???

Then the blathering continues, again which you assume to have some kind of information into her finances and her charitable givings, and I would have to say to you... what an idiot... how can you judge her , you do not know who she is personally..DO YOU?? you do not know if she is a charitable woman??DO YOU??? and you have no idea what she "gives a damn about and what she does I right???and then you spend 4 more paragraphs babbling about something too boring to read... but the point is that this woman stood for something, and believed in something without doing it to kiss someone's backside, you should try it sometime.. you might be a little more respected if you actually did step out of your comfort zone and actually had a real opinion and if you had to, apologized for stepping on someones toes.. but if you have to say it, it needed to be said..

And lastly you make the claim that people do not have an interest in the Holocaust.. well you are wrong.. you might have become bored .. but you are not "people" I can tell you thins right now.. I do not care where you are, or who you show it to, but if you show train loads of Jews arriving to the camps, and thousands of people going into the showers, and thousands of stick thin naked bodies being bulldozed into mass graves, trust me, people will care, maybe not you but people with hearts will


(...back away slowly, people, don't show fear...)

Cliff Cannon

@ T.G.W. : This is Hilarious. ( As usual.)


...well, Cliff, I think ms lisa, as well as our over caffinated friend, miss the points you and other commentors make
...genocide is an ongoing worldwide issue not confined to one people nor one point in history (tho horrible it was: no denying)
...and it continues to this very day by lathered up religious zealots who appear to take great pleasure in lopping off heads and defiling/disfiguring/disgracing their women...

Cliff Cannon

Amen T.G.W.


Have you ever taken a good look at the American Holocaust that murdered hundred of thousands of American Indians? You enjoy the spoils to this day from the natural resources taken form murdered the indigenous people of the Americas. American Indians might feel the pains of Jews if they will pay attention to the Holocaust of America. American Indians are told to such it up when they mention the atrocities against them along with the buzz word the Jews use, "Holocaust." Isn't the same true for the Jews? Suck it up as it happened and is over with. Live with it like the ~2 million American Indians doe every day they awake to another miserable life of poverty and suicide rates of teens the highest in the world. Look at a picture of the Wounded Knee Massacre in South Dakota and say American Holocaust and cowboys, stealing land for lives and Westward expansion based on lies. Those brave soldiers were given medals for their deeds. Does this make you proud, Swiss?




Thank You , cheese curdle!!!

Time for your meds, now.

I've never seen anyone babble and ramble so much and, yet, not say anything at all.

I bet you're hell to deal with in person.



While I feel for the Jews who will remember with such vigor the Holocaust that took place right here in America? American Indians endured one of the most vicious Holocausts from which Hitler learned his tricks on the Jews. I have not heard one bleeding heart, Swiss, mention one thing about the nice home and family you enjoy or those natural resources you enjoy today.

When I hear the Jews admit and advocate for the American Holocaust as they do for the European Holocaust then I might listen in. Each one of the Jews who came to America are living from the spoils of the American Holocaust due to those very resource hundreds of thousands of American Indian men, women and children had their lives taken for. Take a look at the picture of the Wounded Knee Massacre for starters. Those brave soldiers who murdered old men, women and children were given medals for their bravery against starving human beings who were slaughtered and left in the field of massacre and dishonor. This is but one example where it has been recorded in picture for history as an example that will not disappear. Today there are ~2 million American Indians left. How many American Indians did Jews kill when they came to this country in the 19th Century and before? American Holocaust anyone from the land of the free and the brave?????

CrankyBalls's picture

The real enemy of Native Americans was disease brought here from Europe to which their immune systems could not fight off. The number of Indians killed by soldiers is no comparison to the millions who died from disease.

Cliff Cannon

@ CrankyBalls : Excellent point ! Most of all, here's hoping , none of us ever forget, most of those death's had no malice intended, rather they were totally by accident.

Cliff Cannon

@ Waggaze : Obviously, American policy towards the Indians was extremely brutal, particularly after the civil war, when professional warriors such as Sherman,Sheridan and Custer ( to name a few) were implementing policy.

Of course, it could have been different as the Canadian example of how to treat the Indian showed. For in " the grandmother country " ( Sitting Bull's words, not mine) more or less the " Hudson's bay company " kept trade running smoothly. Most of all or so it seems looking back across the decade's the Canadian's kept their word in dealing with the Indian. Which is ,obviously huge, in dealing with anyone.

I've got 2 stories you might like. Today, in " Pa Ha Sapa " the sacred home of the Sioux. Which we Americans flock to enjoy Mt.Rushmore & the " Black Hills ". Is the town of " Custer " named for where he shot a hunters great prize---- a grizzly bear.

So what is being carved out of the mountain there ? You got it. Crazyhorse's monument. Which means once again. Crazyhorse is whomping Custer.

At Wounded Knee one of the American soldiers killed was Gustave Korn. His normal job was attending to " Comanche " who was Capt. Miles Keough's horse and long known as the only survivor of the " Little Big Horn " battle. ( Today Comanche is in a glass case at the Univ. of Kansas)

Comanche, very old by then could not adjust to a new care taker and soon died his self. So even though Custer's old regiment the 7th. cavalry did the murdering at Wounded Knee. The Indians did at least get the moral victory of taking the last survivor of the Little Big Horn to the grave with them

swiss family



I have been to the monument with great pride and shame for the American Holocaust. It rubs me wrong when I hear American Jews whining about their Holocaust while ignoring others before them and which I would suspect a few Jews took part in. As for history I know it well having attended a private university with a federal repository. I took my son with me to have a sense of time and place of the prime example of wholesale murder of helpless humans. America did have a Holocaust that included bounties on their skins, red skins, to be exact. Time for the Jews to quit whining and be thankful there are 10's of millions of them alive today versus the alternative. Actually many settlers did much of the killing too. Washington called it the "Indian problem" that must be dealt with one way of the other. Your comment is well received but no man or woman in this country is without guilt that lives on these lands. You cannot leave out Andrew Jackson the great Indian killer of Manifest Destiney that happened long before the Civil War. Policy of extermination was already set in stone during his era.

Cliff Cannon

@ Waggaze : The problem of history ( properly spelled " His- story " ) in my viewpoint. Is in trying to put one's self emotionally into the era being described.

After all ,for example, once it was a 'hot ticket ' to have good seats to watch lions eat people, was it not ? Yet,would you want to do that ?

Or since this conversation started with the Jewish genocide in W.W.2. Should our focus be on the real emotional heart & soul of that holocaust --Martin Luther ? After all his church in Wittenberg even today, still has carving's of " Juden swine " ( Jewish pigs ) on it.

Further, any original of Luther's anti-semitic text's bore extremely great value to Nazi leaders. So should we abandon the protestant movement he started and all return to being Catholic's ? Even worse, should we condemn all Lutherans, who so closely follow his model ?

If we were alive as the conquering of America was taking place, no doubt, we would've tackled the " Indian problem " Washington spoke of.Yet, how would we have responded ? (Particularly if our wives & children had been murdered by red men ?) Tell me please the prospect of " free land " doesn't appeal to you.

Obviously, Andrew Jackson's " trail of tears " is horrible to contemplate. Yet,again, is he to be judged solely by this atrocity ? Or is he to be judged as the man who fought corrupt big money interests all the while bringing ( through his man James K. Polk ) 9 states into the union in that great land grab---- " The Mexican War " ? (How do you think Mexicans look at that war ? )

Personally, despite having a great affinity for the American Indian. I believe wholeheartedly in what " TheGravyWhisper " wrote about past as well as on going genocides. Agreeing with his conclusion-- they never seem to end

Then add this: It is totally impossible or should be, to look across century's and judge or say what should've been done then. For the simplest of reasons---- we weren't there. Then conclude, the best we can hope to do, is learn from past mistakes


Have we learned from our taking and social experiments gone awry? To this day those same POW camps still exist with generations still living in the same squalor. Look at the countries we have socially engineered to fall back into disaster worse than when we intervened. I understand what you are trying to say, but might never makes right. The American Holocaust was real and it should never be forgotten. Go to a reservation like Pine Ridge or others and look over the poverty and squalor including 90% unemployment and no hope or acceptance of being an American Indian in even today's world.

This sitting president recognizes and has enforced the shame that is ours to bear. We have benefitted in the past and continue to benefit on the demise of another human being which is the worst of mankind especially in this country of the USA.

Cliff Cannon

@ Waggaze : I understand your point. Truly, I feel for the impoverished American be they on a reservation or in a big city ghetto or if they suffer from the worst of all impoverishments--- cold hearts, minds & souls.

However, I also feel overall America does a fantastic job ( Too good in many cases ) of trying to help the needy. Still, the bottom line is always this: Ultimately, only the individual can change their circumstance and many times be it from peer pressure, unwillingness or acceptance of circumstance. The individual will not do that. So society,can not be held accountable for that, can they ?

In conclusion, may I say " Chaska Tonga " ( Sioux for 'many thanks' ) for bringing the American Indian into this debate. Because, we American's indeed should always study our history,in an effort to learn from it.


She is free to buy them and do whatever she wants with those items.

If she doesn't own it she has no say as to what other people do with their property.


Lest we forget - Hitler was Time Magazine's Man of the Year circa 1938. Not to mention Henry Ford's award from the Nazi organization. How soon we forget our past. Hast mich?


This chick would really be whining if she watched any "Hogan's Hero's " re-runs, wouldn't she?

Robert Clary (Le Beau) didn't seem to have a problem with being in the show - he survived the camps as a child.

Cliff Cannon

@starryeyes83 : You've been on quite roll here.

First, your " cheese curdle " comment was a thing of beauty.

Now, you come back with this " Hogan's Hero's commentary, which I must say is as funny, as it is accurate.

I do have a hopefully good question here though. As you no doubt know Col. Klink ( Werner Kemper ) was a German Jew who escaped Germany with his family shortly before the war.

So can you imagine the conversations he and Robert Clary ( Le Beau ) must of had ? What perspectives they must have brought to that show. Kind of makes you want to send this chick a box of " Hogan's Hero's D.V.D.'s, don't it ?

modern concrete

Of the 11 million people killed during the Holocaust, six million were Polish citizens. Three million were Polish Jews and another three million were Polish Christians. Most of the remaining victims were from other countries including Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Ukraine, Russia, Holland, France and even Germany. Keep the facts straight. It wasn't just Jews. My family lost family in the holocaust and we are not Jewish.

modern concrete

I do think this girl overreacted.

modern concrete

I do think this girl overreacted.