The offices of Yad Vashem, the Israeli agency that memorializes the six million Jews murdered by their Nazis and their allies, received an extraordinary and even infuriating proposal recently. The grandson of Rudolf Hoess, the notorious commander of the Auschwitz death camp, offered to sell some of his grandfather’s personal effects to the museum.
The letter to the museum, which was sent several months ago and entitled “Rare objects, Auschwitz, Commander Hoess,” was short and succinct, saying: “These are several objects from the estate of Rudolf Hoess, the commander of Auschwitz: A massive, fireproof box with official insignia – a gift from Henrich Himmler, the commander of the SS, weighing 50 kilograms, a letter opener and folders, slides from Auschwitz that have never been seen publicly, letters from his period of imprisonment in Krakow. I would be very grateful for a brief answer. Sincerely, Reiner Hoess.”
The management of Yad Vashem responded with shock to the proposal and rejected it out of hand. The management of the museum expressed disgust over the desire of the criminal’s relative to profit from Holocaust memorabilia.
A high-ranking official of Yad Vashem said, “Here we must ask: did you murder and profit as well?” (The reference is to 1 Kings 21:19—INT)
However, museum officials told Rudolf Hoess’s grandson, Reiner, that he may donate the original items to the museum in order to commemorate the Nazi horror. (The Bulletin)
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