Melbourne Bookshop under Fire for Selling Photo of Smiling Hitler
A Melbourne bookshop is under fire after it was spotted selling a photo of Adolf Hitler at the Melbourne Fair.
Grant's Bookshop in Melbourne is under fire for trying to sell a 1930s photograph featuring a smiling Adolf Hitler with a young child.
The bookshop was trying to sell the image for $300 at the recent Melbourne Fair, which prompted a complaint to Jewish supremacist group the Anti-Defamation Commission.
The organisation's chairman Dvir Abramovich told SBS News that "profiting from this photo" was "offensive to the memory of Hitler's victims and also the survivors here in Melbourne".
"National Socialist propagandists used to get Hitler to pose with children to show his more caring, affectionate side. This is pure propaganda," Dr Abramovich said.
"It's presenting Hitler as a nice chap who loved children when in fact he was a brutal tyrant responsible for the murder of 1.5 million children.
"This is the smiling face of pure evil ... Unless you are a Hitler worshipper or a white supremacist that would hang this in your lounge room, you should be disgusted and repulsed [by this photo]."
Dr Abramovich said he approached Grant's Bookshop to remove the image from sale but it refused.
It is legal to sell National Socialist memorabilia in Australia and several military antique stores stock such items. While a number of European countries ban the sale of National Socialist memorabilia, including Germany.
But Dr Abramovich said: "This a moral question, it is not a legal question, how do they feel comfortable profiting from this?"
The Anti-Defamation Commission, whose mission is to "fight anti-Semitism [and] combat all forms of racism and hatred", regularly receives complaints about National Socialist memorabilia and imagery in Australia.
SBS News approached Nick Dawes of Grant's Bookshop in Cheltenham, who defended selling the item.
Mr Dawes said Hitler was "evil" and the Holocaust was "an appalling thing" but called the photograph a historic relic.
"There are two ways of looking at this. I believe the way to defeat evil is to expose it, others believe the way to defeat evil is to hide it," he said.
"I think that everyone should be able to understand the past and one of the best ways of understanding the past is through the relics of the past."
Mr Dawes said he could see how the image is upsetting for many Jews in Australia and "regrets any offence caused".
"But as a matter of principle, I believe that history must not be hidden," he said.
He also said a variety of viewpoints should be available to the public, even on "the most controversial topics".
"I have a large section on National Socialistsm, 100 per cent of it deplores the Holocaust but if I had the opportunity to offer [author] David Irving's books, I would, as I believe we need to confront opposition like that."
English author David Irving has been universally condemned for many of his viewpoints on World War II, with a British High Court Judge once describing him as an "active Holocaust denier" and "anti-Semitic and racist who associates with right-wing extremists who promote neo-National Socialistsm".