>Freely borrowed from the news website oe24: Innsbruck has a special kind of flea market in the Franziskanerplatz, where you can find all sorts of antique stuff, china, old books and artworks, that kind of thing. When the Advent market stands go up, they all sort of merge together in the open spaces that the town’s thousands of tourists frequent.
oe24 was tipped off that one of the dealers had a display with Nazi memorabilia, including pins, medals, and other official decorations, and sent an “undercover” reporter to take a look. Some of the swasikas were covered with red stickers, some were left uncovered. Prices began at €270 euros. When asked about the legality of selling the stuff publicly, the seller said “What of it? This falls under the freedom to express one’s opinion.” (“Was wollt’s denn? Das gehört zur freien Meinungsäußerung”) But when a police vehicle drove by, the seller nervously stashed his glass display into the back of his car, and stuffed the SS caps into a plastic bag. Because despite the seller’s words about freedom of speech, it is illegal and punishable by law to sell these items openly.
Now, I understand the desire to sell the stuff, especially when it’s genuine old war-era articles. The beau does quite a bit of used-book trade and makes a little money from it, and occasionally some old piece of propaganda literature will find its way into his hands. What to do? Of course you want to sell it, preferably to some sensible left-leaning peacenik historian who’s doing his or her dissertation on “Revisionist History in Germany in the 1930s”. In fact, that’s pretty much the biggest reason why we don’t destroy the books — they are evidence of how things were at the time, and potentially useful to historians now and in the future.
This guy with the stall probably didn’t even care much about the politics behind it, he just wanted to make a sale. But then one gets all tied up in arguments about the banality of evil. And really, selling this crap out in the open next to the Christmas stalls is outrageous.
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