“Shouldn’t that be in a museum?” is the most often-repeated question being raised in light of today’s eBay listing of Schindler’s List—not the DVD, the actual historical document.
California collectors Gary Zimet and Eric Gazin put one of four original copies on the site for its anonymous owner, who purchased it in 2011.
Its listing states: “Free Local Pickup” and “Item location: Israel.”
Gazin told the NY Post, “We decided to sell the list on eBay because it has over 100 million worldwide members, and this is a global story,” Gazin told the Post. “There are billionaires using the site, wealthy celebrities. We like the platform.”
Though the starting bid requires a minimum of $3 million, Gazin and Zimet expect it to collect as much as $5 million.
The other three original copies of the document aren’t available on the open market—they’re displayed in museums, and that’s bringing up arguments about the ethics, or at least the taste level, of putting this one up for public sale.
Commodifying an atrocity is at the least, an unnerving business, but on a site that also sells hair gel and Garbage Pale Kids, it seems all the more unsavory. Auctions of this kind happen all the time, but not online, and not viewable by survivors’ living relatives.
The listing reads:
Don't miss your chance to own a piece of history that has inspired many on the difference one person can make in the face of great danger.
This exceedingly rare original Schindler’s List is the only one ever on the market. It emanates from the family of Itzhak Stern, Schindler’s accountant and right hand man (played by Ben Kingsley in the Academy Award-winning film). There are 3 others known which are in institutional hands. It is 14 pages in length and lists 801 male names, dated April 18, 1945. It is guaranteed authentic.
If you haven’t seen the biographical film, Oskar Schindler was a German factory owner, credited with saving over 1,000 Jewish refugees from the Nazis during World War II. By claiming them as his employees, Schindler was able to protect them from certain death.
Twenty years after the fact, Schindler himself explained in a speech:
The persecution of Jews in occupied Poland meant that we could see horror emerging gradually in many ways. In 1939, they were forced to wear Jewish stars, and people were herded and shut up into ghettos. Then, in the years '41 and '42 there was plenty of public evidence of pure sadism. With people behaving like pigs, I felt the Jews were being destroyed. I had to help them. There was no choice.”
Do you think the eBay listing is no different than the selling of other artifacts, or does it seem dismissive of the tragedy? Let us know in the Comments.