Nazi memorabilia

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Militaria and paraphernalia from Nazi Germany for sale as memorabilia and collectibles in Amsterdam, the Netherlands in 1964. In a digital age internationally based private collectors and traders more often are handling artifacts with a troubled past online.
Photo: Jack de Nijs / Anefo

Nazi memorabilia or Third Reich collectibles are items produced during the height of Nazism in Germany, particularly the years between 1933 and 1945. Nazi memorabilia includes a variety of objects from the material culture of Nazi Germany, especially those featuring swastikas and other Nazi symbolism or connected to Nazi propaganda, such as military and paramilitary uniforms, insignia, coins and banknotes, medals, flags, daggers, guns, posters, contemporary photos and publications.

During the Second World War, soldiers from opposing Allied forces often took small items from fallen enemies as war trophies.[1] These and other items from this time period have since been acquired by museums and individual collectors. In Europe museums still regularly receive everyday artifacts from the Nazi era and have to deal with remnants of National Socialism and relics of war and hatred.[2]


Nazi uniform accessories taken as war trophies on display in Fort Lewis Military Museum in Washington, USA: Nazi Party uniform insignia (collar patches and cap badges), party membership pin, parade belt buckle, Nuremberg Rally badges, etc.

In recent years the market for buying and selling Nazi memorabilia has increased.[3] As veterans pass away, some families have tried to get rid of their possessions.

Many in the general public are offended by, and condemn, auctions, militaria shops, online stores and other businesses selling Nazi 'antiques', and find the goods and commercial trading 'tasteless' and 'hateful'. Most of those wanting to restrict the trade of Nazi collectibles will accept donations to public museums though. While the great majority of private collectors are exclusively interested in the historical background and fascinated by the distinctive design of the items, some collectors are in fact political supporters of Neo-Nazism and other right-wing and hate groups.[4]

With the growing demands for Nazi memorabilia, many Jewish groups are disapproving the sale and purchase of Nazi products for leisure purposes. Others such as Haim Gertner, director of Israel's Holocaust memorial Yad Vashem, believe that some of the Nazi memorabilia are worth saving, claiming that anti-Semitic history shouldn't be forgotten.[5][6]

As original items from the Nazi era and Second World War are sold for high prices, there is a large amount of copies, forgeries and even inauthentic objects on the market.[3]

Legal restrictions[edit]

Nazi decorations, medals and badges in a trade stall in the Izmaylovsky Park in Moscow, Russia, 2006. While original items from the Nazi era are sold for high prices, there is a large amount of copies and forgeries on the market.[3]
Modern day replicas of miscellaneous Nazi badges aimed at reenactors and exhibitions, for sale at the militaria fair at the Victory Show in Cosby, Leicestershire, UK, 2015: Wehrmacht eagle-and-swastika cap badges, SS skull-and-crossbones emblems (Totenkopf), Nazi Party membership pins, etc.

The sale of Nazi memorabilia is strictly prohibited in parts of Europe. In France, the Internet portal site Yahoo! was sued in the case LICRA v. Yahoo! (2000) by the Union of Jewish Students and the International League against Racism and Anti-Semitism for "justifying war crimes and crimes against humanity" by allowing such memorabilia to be sold via its auction pages.[7] Yahoo!'s response was to ban the sale of Nazi memorabilia through its website. A Paris court cleared Yahoo! in 2003.

Fearing similar litigation, auction website eBay enacted new guidelines regarding the sale of Nazi memorabilia in 2003. eBay's policies prohibit items relating to Nazi media propaganda, items made after 1933 that contains a swastika, Nazi reproduction items such as uniforms, and all Holocaust-related products. Memorabilia such as coins, stamps, or printed period literature such as magazines, books, or pamphlets are not prohibited.[8]


See also[edit]

Nazi paraphernalia and propaganda items on display at the National Museum of Military History in Luxembourg: a uniform for a 'Political leader' in the Nazi Party, Nazi swastika armband, Reichspost badge, portrait bust of Adolf Hitler, Ordnungspolizei sleeve badge, Deutsches Reich Arbeitsbuch, SA dagger, etc.
Photo: Thomas Quine, 2015


  1. ^ The National WWII Museum New Orleans, 2017: Looting the Reich: German Wound Badge
  2. ^ Deutsche Welle December 2021: Austria: Vienna museum display tackles tricky issues of Nazi memorabilia
  3. ^ a b c Daniel Grant, 2019: The Market for Disturbing Nazi Artifacts Is Growing. Who Is Buying Them—and Why?
  4. ^ [ Michael Hughes: The Anarchy of Nazi Memorabilia From Things of Tyranny to Troubled Treasure (book 2022)]
  5. ^ "Bottom line: is it immoral to sell Adolf Hitler's underpants?". South China Morning Post. 2018-12-28. Retrieved 2019-11-22.
  6. ^ International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA): Why is it important to have open access to Holocaust archives?
  7. ^ "Yahoo! Inc., a Delaware Corporation, Plaintiff-appellee, v. La Ligue Contre Le Racisme et L'antisemitisme, a French Association; L'union Des Etudiants Juifs De France, a French Association, Defendants-appellants, 433 F.3d 1199 (9th Cir. 2006)". Justia Law. Retrieved 2019-11-25.
  8. ^ "Offensive material policy". Archived from the original on 2018-03-16. Retrieved 2019-11-20.
  9. ^ "An der plakativen Front: Eine Fälschung macht Geschichte".

External links[edit]