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EBay removes purported Holocaust memorabilia from site, apologizes

From Lindsay Isaac, CNN
updated 10:43 AM EST, Mon November 4, 2013
A uniform purportedly worn by a concentration camp victim, similar to the photo above, is among items removed from eBay.
A uniform purportedly worn by a concentration camp victim, similar to the photo above, is among items removed from eBay.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: World Jewish Congress CEO: "It is outrageous, disgusting and disrespectful"
  • Report: EBay removes 30 items after a newspaper's investigation
  • Mail on Sunday: Concentration camp uniform, Star of David armbands were for sale
  • Spokesman: "We are very sorry that these items have been listed on eBay"

(CNN) -- A spokesman for eBay said Sunday that the company has removed items described as Holocaust memorabilia from its online auction site.

The removal comes after an investigation by Britain's Mail on Sunday newspaper, which reported that a uniform and a pair of shoes purportedly belonging to concentration camp victims and yellow Star of David armbands were among items offered on the site.

"We are very sorry that these items have been listed on eBay and we are removing them," eBay spokesman Steve Heywood said. "We don't allow listings of this nature, and dedicate thousands of staff to policing our site and use the latest technology to detect items that shouldn't be for sale. We very much regret that we didn't live up to our own standards. We have made a donation to charity to reflect our concern."

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The Mail reported later Sunday that 30 items had been removed from eBay, and that the company had pledged to give 25,000 pounds ($40,000) to charity.

The newspaper said its investigation had uncovered a number of Holcaust-related items for sale on the site, including a uniform that purportedly belonged to a Polish baker who died in Auschwitz, on sale for 11,200 pounds ($17,900).

Seller Viktor Kempf described himself to The Mail as a historian.

"I have had criticism in the past and I find it upsetting," he said, according to the newspaper. "I don't want people to think I'm just doing it for the money. These periods in history are horrific, nobody should ever forget them."

EBay's offensive material policy lists a series of restrictions and guidelines tied to Nazi-related items, but the policy allows some "historical items" to be sold, such as currency and stamps showing Nazi postmarks.

The site generally makes 10% of the final sale price of item, in addition to possible listing fees.

"It is outrageous, disgusting and disrespectful that eBay sought to profit from the sale of artifacts related to the Nazis' murder of 6 million Jews," Robert Singer, CEO of the World Jewish Congress, said in a written statement. "The company did the right thing by removing the items and apologizing."

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