|The First Art Newspaper on the Net
||Established in 1996
|| Wednesday, January 29, 2020
|Lebanese donor hands Nazi artifacts to Israel, warns of anti-Semitism|
Lebanese-Swiss businessman Abdallah Chatila, who purchased items belonging to Adolf Hitler at a public auction in Europe to ensure that they do not get into neo-Nazi hands, speaks following his visit to the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial museum in Jerusalem on December 8, 2019. Chatila, who has made a fortune from diamonds and real estate in Geneva, donated Hitler's top hat and other objects linked to the Nazi leader to Keren Hayesod-UIA, which works in partnership with the golbal Jewish Community, in order to keep the items out of the hands of neo-fascists. The items will be transferred to the Yad Vasehm Holocaust museum in Jerusalem. AHMAD GHARABLI / AFP.
by Jonah Mandel
JERUSALEM (AFP).- A wealthy Lebanese-Swiss businessman said Sunday he had bought Adolf Hitler's top hat and other Nazi artifacts to give them to Jewish groups and prevent them falling into the hands of a resurgent far-right.
Abdallah Chatila said he had felt compelled to take the objects off the market because of the rising anti-Semitism, populism and racism he was witnessing in Europe.
He spent about 600,000 euros ($660,000) for eight objects connected to Hitler, including the collapsible top hat, in a November 20 sale at a Munich auction house, originally planning to burn them all.
But he then decided to give them to the Keren Hayesod association, an Israeli fundraising group, which has resolved to hand them to Israel's Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial centre.
Chatila told a Jerusalem press conference it had been a "very easy" decision to purchase the items when he saw the "potentially lethal injustice that those artifacts would go to the wrong hands".
"I felt I had no choice but to actually try to help the cause," he added.
"What happened in the last five years in Europe showed us that anti-Semitism, that populism, that racism is going stronger and stronger, and we are here to fight it and show people we're not scared.
"Today -- with the fake news, with the media, with the power that people could have with the internet, with social media -- somebody else could use that small window" of time to manipulate the public, he said.
He said he had worried the Nazi-era artifacts could be used by neo-Nazi groups or those seeking to stoke anti-Semitism and racism in Europe.
"That's why I felt I had to do it," he said of his purchase.
The items, still in Munich, are to be eventually delivered to Yad Vashem, where they will be part of a collection of Nazi artifacts crucial to countering Holocaust denial, but not be put on regular display, said Avner Shalev, the institute's director.
Chatila also met with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and visited Yad Vashem.
'Place for optimism'
Chatila was born in Beirut into a family of Christian jewellers and moved to Switzerland at the age of two.
Now among Switzerland's richest 300 people, he supports charities and causes, including many relating to Lebanon and Syrian refugees.
The auction was brought to Chatila's attention by the European Jewish Association, which has sought to sway public opinion against the trade in Nazi memorabilia.
Rabbi Mehachem Margolin, head of the association, said Chatila's surprise act had raised attention to such auctions.
He said it was a powerful statement against racism and xenophobia, especially coming from a non-Jew of Lebanese origin.
Lebanon and Israel remain technically at war and Lebanese people are banned from communication with Israelis.
"There is no question that a message that comes from you is 10 times, or 100 times stronger than a message that comes from us," Margolin told Chatila.
The message was not only about solidarity among people, but also "how one person can make such a huge change," Margolin said.
"There's a place for optimism."
© Agence France-Presse
December 9, 2019
McNay Art Museum focuses on Minimalism, debuts never-before-seen prints
A $120,000 banana is peeled from an art exhibition and eaten
Heard Museum in Arizona launches new exhibition series with Maria Hupfield
Lebanese donor hands Nazi artifacts to Israel, warns of anti-Semitism
Caroll Spinney, Big Bird's alter ego on 'Sesame Street,' is dead at 85
Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac presents an exhibition of new paintings and works on paper by Imi Knoebel
Rubell Museum opens in new home
Lovers in Auschwitz, reunited 72 years later. He had one question
Mutli-channel video installation pays tribute to Ugo Rondinone's late husband, John Giorno
Rising US rap artist Juice WRLD dies at 21
Tracing lost New York through postcards
Donald B. Marron, financier, art collector and philanthropist, dies at 85
Philharmonie de Paris opens an exhibition of works by Pierre & Gilles
Pace Gallery opens an exhibition of Chinese artist Li Songsong's most recent works
Jason Farago: Art for our moment
Sotheby's to offer a bespoke Rolls Royce Phantom customized by Mickalene Thomas to benefit (RED)
"Rosa Parks: In Her Own Words," a new exhibition, offers intimate view of seminal figure's life
MEI Art Gallery opens one of the first exhibitions of contemporary Kurdish art in the U.S.
Exhibition presents historical 19th century paintings alongside 20th century photographs
First UK solo exhibition of work by Meryl McMaster on view at Ikon
Yang Jiechang celebrates 30 years of collaboration with the galerie Jeanne Bucher Jaeger
Kunsthalle Osnabrück presents Celebration Factory by Filip Markiewicz
Exhibition invites audiences to enter the fantastical worlds of six artists
5 Important Things You Should Look for in a Good Logo Design
Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .
|Royalville Communications, Inc|
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.