German court stops auction of Auschwitz tattoo machine after Jewish survivor’s legal complaint

A German court on Sunday halted the sale of a tattoo machine used to tattoo Jewish prisoners at Auschwitz. This was after the complainant, a 75-year-old Auschwitz survivor, applied to the court for an injunction against the sale, which was to take place on Monday. In the injunction, the court alleges that the machine was a “nazi weapon” and ordered the buyer to hold off on making the sale for 60 days.

The Holocaust survivor said he bought the machine to prevent it from being sold on eBay or another auction site and used it to tattoo Nazi prisoners, a procedure that at one point saw an estimated 3 million Jews killed. In some cases, the tattoo was used to identify the prisoners by colour, but some such as the survivor say it has little specific meaning. This particular machine was used for tattoos of the septum and retinas, which were provided to train the prisoners to allow them to produce baby calves from their skin. Holocaust survivors have warned for decades that widespread public displays of tattoos, which are often used by non-Jewish skinhead and skinhead gangs, are a form of “Slavophobia.”

Despite the suspension of the auction, the winner of the auction had already moved the auction site to its full registration status.

WATCH: Hundreds of children who lost their parents at Auschwitz. After today’s step, the auction of Auschwitz tattoo machine would be blocked. — The Independent (@Independent) May 27, 2019

Germany banned the sale of the tattoo machine after World War II in 1957, but sales have continued through second-hand outlets, while some unscrupulous memorabilia dealers have adopted complicated methods of exploitation. A letter that was sent to buyers of the auctioned machine reads: “This letter comes to advise you that the auction is closed and that you should not proceed with further bids or take any further actions as advised.”

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