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Notorious Nazi's diaries to be auctioned

The Local · 19 Jul 2011, 09:11

Published: 19 Jul 2011 09:11 GMT+02:00

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The Connecticut-based Alexander Autographs said Thursday's the auction would include some 3,500 pages of "hidden journals" of the doctor at the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp. The items are expected to fetch between $300,000 and $400,000 (between €212,000 and €283,000).

The identity of the owner was not indicated.

Alexander Autographs, which specializes in historical manuscripts, said the auction would include a "historically important" lot of 31 manuscripts in various forms, including bound journals.

Some were written in Paraguay and Brazil, where Mengele lived after fleeing Europe at the end of World War II until his death in 1979.

"All writings are penned in ink in a legible hand, in generally excellent condition," the auction house said.

Mengele was a member of the Nazis' elite SS, which ran death camps across occupied Europe.

The journals include some poems written by Mengele as well as commentaries on various subjects. In one, according to the auction house, he indicated that sexual promiscuity has led "to a dreadful mixing of the races with the northern Europeans ... when you start mixing the races, there is a decline in civilization."

Based at Auschwitz from 1943, Mengele was among those who supervised the selection of prisoners on arrival to death camps, sending those deemed unfit for slave labour to be gassed with the deadly Zyklon B.

Story continues below…

He gained his notorious reputation due to his pseudo-medical experiments, for example on twins he plucked from among the prisoners.

Mengele escaped to Latin America at the end of World War II, and died in a drowning accident in Brazil in 1979.


The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

09:31 July 19, 2011 by Talonx
If you find it absolutely disgusting that this American company is seeking to profit from the murder of millions of people. Please send them a message: http://www.alexautographs.com/ContactcustomerService.aspx or call them: (U.S. code:00)1-203-276-1570 and let them know that:

A.) They should be encouraging the collector to donate these letters.


B.) They should donate all their profits to a documentation effort of some sort in Germany or elsewhere.
09:57 July 19, 2011 by michael4096
I disagree

It is time that the entire episode became a part of humanity's history and treated as such. I'm not trying to play down the severity or horror of the holocaust - just the opposite. I think that it should be there as a lesson for all.
12:11 July 19, 2011 by freechoice
yeah tell the story to the Neo Nazis..
15:16 July 19, 2011 by Talonx
@ Michael4096

You apparently did not read my comment or the article.

The article is about selling for profit to private collectors from private collectors.

I said this is bad and the diary should be given up or at the least the profit to documentation centers. Documentation centers are museums open to the public.
15:31 July 19, 2011 by catjones
Talonx...since you live in a free country, take some of your savings and bid in the auction. If you bid the highest price and win then you can donate the documents (or burn them) to whomever you choose.
18:27 July 19, 2011 by Englishted

What should not be sold then ?,

There is some prime real-estate in France sadly it is full of graves ,but hey some are over 90 years old time to move on or ?.
18:30 July 19, 2011 by Loth
While many question the number of people killed in the camps and how they were murdered. In my opinion ,It should not be illegal to question anything. This doctor of death is proof however that many terrible things went on. So the holocaust is a great tragedy no matter what. I also think these things could happen in any country not just Germany. We the people must be on guard to try to keep these awful things from happening anywhere. If we can.
18:55 July 19, 2011 by Talonx
@ Catjones

Firstly, this has nothing to do with freedom. This has to do with calling out antisocial types (the auction house and the private owner) for bad behaviour. Should we not press others and expect them to behave ethically?

Secondly, I hope you aren't trying to say that the highest bidder is automatically correct?

@ Englishted

Spot on.

@ Loth

Many DO NOT question the number of people killed (e.g. political prisoners, Jews, Homosexuals, Romani, etc...)or how they were killed (extra-judicial murder: gassing, death marches, experimentation, worked-to-death, torture, etc...). A small minority of folks without any professional background with a propensity for racist ideas and conspiracy theories have questions, but I don't think they really count. Nevertheless you are quite right, as I said, these documents should be made available to documentation efforts (which are all public). If you agree, I urge you to let the auction house know what you think in a civil fashion.
18:58 July 19, 2011 by michael4096
@Talonx - I did read the rest of your post

Should a Dutch family be able to sell abroad a painting representing a defining moment in Rembrandt's life? How do you say that one historical object has a value exceeding pure monetary considerations? Tutemkamun's treasure is considered invaluable to Egypt, but a hand written score from Mozart can be sold in Austria.

I don't know the answer, but I think that when evaluating items like this they should now be classified for their historical value rather than their emotional value

@Englishted - sure, the area around me is 'littered' with Napoleon's casualties - they gave too - and, it wasn't really that long ago

Most very old UK churches are about a meter higher than the immediately surrounding area - not because the church sank but because of the way the graveyard has raised. When is it time to say: ok, but, even though you were a relation, I can't actually remember you? Time to move on

@Loth - I'm with you
19:04 July 19, 2011 by wenddiver
The thought that his family/friens might be the unidentified people benfiting from the crmes is reallt repulsive. Hopefully it is not them or anybody connected with the governments that allowed him to use their Country to hide.

I would suggest the Deopartment of Justice or Interpol seize them as potential evidence in future criminal hearings. Why should anybody be allowed to profit from a crime.

The Company Auctioning the documents has stepped over the line I would say and needs investigation as they are dealing in ongoing criminal matters/evidence not history.
20:16 July 19, 2011 by Talonx
@ Michael4096

I don't think you understand my very explicit point.

For the third time. It's not about forcing people or allowing people, it's about pressing people to behave ethically and humanely. Profiting off of a crime (I agree with you on this wenddiver) is not ethical behaviour.
21:32 July 19, 2011 by wood artist
I think this whole discussion simply points out how hard it is to draw absolute lines regarding such things.

On one hand, these are clearly "value" items, and since they are in private ownership legally, they can be bought and sold as such, much the same as paintings, letters and journals from "leaders" and other sorts of things. They weren't (presumably) stolen or otherwise looted, and are little different then a person who chooses to sell his house, regardless of who might have lived in it originally.

On the other hand, there are legitimate historical questions about things such as this, and a completely understandable viewpoint that they should be in a museum or archive where they are available for public viewing or professional study. I would, in some ways, liken these to the "Dead Sea Scrolls" that are important historical artifacts.

Unfortunately, both sides in this discussion have valid viewpoints, and I'm not certain the so-called "ethical decision" is really clear. We can agree to disagree without being disagreeable. Let's hope the new owner will make them available, at least as copies, and perhaps someday they will be in a museum. They chronicle history; the fact that they are about a very negative aspect of history doesn't change that either way.

21:35 July 19, 2011 by catjones
Englishted...a cemetery compared to some written document? Please.

The fair comparison is the private cemetery plot I bought and then sold to someone else.

Talonx...whose 'ethics' are higher? Yours? People like you always know what's best for others. Somehow you've cornered the market on the moral high ground.

Google auctions. The term is 'win', not 'correct'. One is an arithmetic fact; the other an emotional value judgement.
22:58 July 19, 2011 by Englishted

Fair point but what price "the declaration of independence "or the "magna carta"

Some documents simple belong to history not private collectors who have money.

Not everything is for sale .
14:09 July 20, 2011 by moistvelvet
Oh c'mon, this diary has at least got to be more interesting to read than Anne Franks

March 14th - I hid

March 15th - I hid

March 16th - I hid

March 17th.......
15:41 July 20, 2011 by catjones
Englishted...google 'private property' vs 'public property'
18:04 July 20, 2011 by Talonx
@ Wood Artist

Good ethical decisions are inherently emotionally bound. Take the following scenario. 10 people are about to be killed by an empty train unless you switch the train to another track where one person will be killed; or 10 people are about to be killed by an empty train unless you push one person in front of it, murdering that person. The utilitarian decision in these two cases is identical 1 life for 10. However, in one case murder has taken place. Emotion where relevent (deciding not to murder) is important in helping us to divine prosocial ethical decisions. (this is why our good friend LogicGuy always sounds so ignorant).

@ Catjones

Your argument is confused. Firstly, ethics and morality are not the same thing. They bear the same relation as do science and phenomena-to-be-studied. Ethics is something examined and thought out, morality is a self-perpetuating cultural inheritence to-be-examined. I take no moral high ground, I posit what's ethical and ask for wait for your counter argument, synthesis, or agreement. You had three options in handling my claim, but you choose to assault me ('people like you...') and to never address my claim.

For the fourth time, without any direct response or ctiticism of my claim (except from woodartist), I posit that those auctioning items for profit such as the diaries of Mengele are behaving unethically by profiting off the murder of millions and that they should rather donate proceeds or records to documentation efforts in order to behave ethically. Catjones has maid the unrelated claims that 'people are free to profit from murder', that 'money wins', and that I am 'elitist' or 'self-important'.
20:49 July 20, 2011 by catjones
Talonx..oh, please, get off your high horse. Thousands of books have been written about war. Some fiction, some non-fiction, some diaries. There's even a book call Mein Kampf. They're all just books. Are they all profiting from murder?

How about newspapers, broadcasts, blogs? The list goes on and on. What the world doesn't need is an arbiter like you deciding which is ethical and which is not.

That sort of personal judgement (book burning anyone?) was despised then and is despised now. You belong to another era.
23:18 July 20, 2011 by Jack Kerouac
There is no "ethical" decision. It's just a collection of journals from a historically significant person. If somebody wants to protest, then do what "catjones" suggested and buy those diaries and burn it. Regardless, the auction will be held, and the journals will be bought by a collector. Big deal!
03:16 July 21, 2011 by wenddiver
@jack Kerouac-Careful of moral realativism, some of the worst crimes in history have been committed by this method. It is the calling card of totalitarian governments throughout the world.

When we make decisions that cheapen human life, we have to be aware we are doing just that. It is the great lesson of the twentieth century.

I fear I might come off as preachy, but allowing the criminal or their famy and friends to make money off their crimes, encourages crime. These people started a series of crimes that touched every person on the planet in some way.

These journals should be in a Police evidence room, until we are sure everyone from that generation is dead. Then they should be sent to a Museum for study. It would be a shame if they disappeared into some Nazi's closet, to be enjoyed at his leisure. For that to happen minimizes the crime of murdering millions of people.
08:13 July 21, 2011 by Englishted

Englishted...google 'private property' vs 'public property'

Public property is any property that is controlled by a state or by a whole community. Private property is any property that is not public property. ...

Yes and? I feel these are historical documents and as such should not be in private hands.

"These days man knows the price of everything, but the value of nothing."

- Oscar Wilde

This applies all to often to the U.S.A.
12:32 July 21, 2011 by michael4096
"For the third time. It's not about forcing people or allowing people, it's about pressing people to behave ethically and humanely."

@Talonx - not "forcing", just "pressing" - I'll have to think about that

@wa - you are quite right, there is probably a compromise along the lines of making the scanned documents publically available but allowing the physical papers to remain in private ownership. However, I still believe that this will only work if we see them as truely "historical" and "academic" and remove the emotion of what they relate to from the discussion.
22:01 July 21, 2011 by Talonx
@ Catjones

Firstly, The rough draft of Mein Kampf and Mengele's diaries are not comparable to some nobodies blog.

Secondly, how does wanting knowledge in the public sector and not wanting people to use primary sources to profit off of the murder of millions compare to book buring, exactly?

@ Jack Kerouac

Your namesake would disagree with you. Money as might does not mike right.

@ Michael4096

There is a very clear difference. 'forcing' is usually done with the law and has legal consequences, whereas 'pressing' is usually done when people strike, make boycotts, or start letter writing campaigns.
11:09 July 22, 2011 by michael4096
@Talonx - thanks for the clarification, I understand now

I don't agree though. I still feel that we should be eliminating the emotional side not using it as a weapon.
18:41 July 22, 2011 by McNair Kaserne
I love all these people who think that someone else's private property should be confiscated, ostensibly because this will help the learning processes of a species (us) who NEVER LEARN. If we did there would be no "cycle" of history.

As someone else said, if you think they should be donated, take up a collection and buy them. I am so tired of these people who wish constantly to vote themselves the beneficiaries of others property or labors.
19:19 July 22, 2011 by Englishted
@McNair Kaserne

"I am so tired of these people who wish constantly to vote themselves the beneficiaries of others property or labors."

Everything is somebody's labour ,but many people died in this man's labour.

Is the white house private property ?,

You lot would or maybe have sold your souls because the price was right ,how sad is that ?.
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