Neo-fascists won't be able to get their hands on Adolf Hitler's top hat and other items anymore as one Lebanese businessman donated them to an Israeli foundation.
Abdallah Chatila, a Lebanese business tycoon, bought these objects "so they could not be used for the purpose of neo-Nazi propaganda" during a controversial auction in Munich, Germany. Chatila said his stance is "totally apolitical and neutral."
Israel's history with apartheid, occupation, and genocide does not exactly make it the best candidate for the donation of the items, despite the fact that it's home to millions of Jews. Israel's violence against Palestinians has been labeled "ethnic cleansing" previously, so what makes the country any different than neo-Nazis? Some would say that it has much to do with the fact that Israel is home to Jews, the victims of Hitler's World War II genocide. But is that really enough?
Chatila has suggested that the Nazi artifacts "should be burned," but that "historians think they should be kept as part of the collective memory."
"Far-right populism and anti-Semitism are spreading all over Europe and the world," Chatila said in remarks following his purchase. "I did not want these objects to fall into the wrong hands and to be used by people with dishonest intentions."
The items donated include a top hat, believed to have belonged to Hitler, which Chatila bought at a value of $55,300 at the Hermann Historica auction in the German city last Wednesday. Chatila bought several items linked to the Nazi leader at the auction and donated them to Keren Hayesod, an Israeli fundraising group.
Chatila reportedly spent 545,000 euros ($601,000) on 10 pieces at the auction, including a cigar box, a typewriter, and a luxury edition of Hitler's book Mein Kampf.
According to Al Jazeera, Chatila - who was born in Beirut in 1974 - is one of Switzerland's 300 richest people.
His most recent actions were praised by Jewish groups, including the European Jewish Association (EJA), which has said Chatila will be granted an award in January 2020.