A knife used for amputations and a tattooing kit said to have been used at Auschwitz have been seized in the most significant such seizure in years, the Israeli police said.
The kits were being auctioned on Thursday in the southern Israeli city of Eilat, police said. The buyers were supposed to be legal tourists from the former Soviet Union.
But police said the auction went ahead after they stopped the government’s decision to allow the sale. An auctioneer said he wanted the items “for his private collection.”
It was not immediately clear what will happen to the items after the auction.
Israel’s Chief Justice Miriam Naor ordered the decision to support human rights, Israel’s Channel 10 TV reported.
Police said a tip came from the United States that the kits were being exported from Israel, possibly to a cheap destination like Russia.
The auction company provided the goods in unassembled form for free on the condition that they would not be destroyed, without providing a total price of their purchase, police said.
Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said they found the kits at the Jerusalem airport last month as part of their routine task of keeping weapons from getting abroad. It was unclear who bought the kits.
A doctor from Poland said he had been keeping the kits since the end of World War II as a souvenir.
“I was born in the area in 1945 and everybody had tattoos,” said Andrzej Sadowski, adding that he did not believe that the items had been used at Auschwitz.
The Auschwitz Memorial identified the former inmate who made the tattooing kit as a Soviet tattooist who was a trainee there, the news website Cyber World News reported.
The trainee tattooist did not disclose his employer or explain the purpose of the tattoo he had done on the POW’s genitals, the Auschwitz Memorial said.
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