Despite outrage, Hitler items sold at Montreal auction

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montreal | Which was the ultimate irony, some wondered: the fact that an auction that included six items illustrated or signed by Hitler was held in a church or that it took place in a city with one of the world’s largest communities of Holocaust survivors?

Despite a glut of publicity, much of it negative, the Montreal auction house Iegore-Hotel des Encans went ahead with its art auction July 17, selling almost all of its 212 lots, including the six Hitler items.

The auction house came into possession of the items — two signed greeting cards on personalized Hitler Third Reich stationary and four architectural drawings done by the amateur artist and future genocidal dictator — through a party who wished to remain anonymous.

When the auction became public several weeks ago, the auctioneer Iegore de Saint Hippolyte, 57, a Russian immigrant who came to Canada in 1983, was thrown on the defensive.

“I understand why some people might be upset,” he was quoted as saying. “My own grandfather was in a concentration camp. But I’m doing it for the same reason I would sell a poster of Lenin or Trotsky,” he claimed. “It is part of history and also my job.”

Members of the Jewish community didn’t accept that reasoning.

“We find it deplorable that these objects, originally belonging to one of the most reviled mass murderers in history, would financially benefit either the seller or the purchaser,” said Ann Ungar, the executive director of the Montreal Holocaust Memorial Center and Museum.

In all, the Hitler items sold for a total of $32,400.

The one other Nazi-related item — a black-and-white photo of the Christian Nazi Socialist Party of Canada, taken at an organizational assembly on June 20, 1938 — sold for $250.