I was recently told of a rare find. An acquaintance in Germany discovered some clay pipes and a pipe mold that had been hidden away and forgotten for more than sixty years. The pipe has a swastika on the bowl. They were most likely produced in the mid to late 1930s and after the defeat of the Nazis in 1945 discarded, hidden or simply stored somewhere and eventually forgotten. I was asked, as a dealer in clay pipes, if I would be interested in selling them at Pipeshoppe.com. Germany and several other European countries forbid the sale of items displaying a swastika, and for good reason. But collectors around the world seem to be interested in memorabilia from World War II. These pipes were around before and during the war, but no one I have spoken to knows the exact origin of these pipes. Were they commissioned by the National Socialist Workers Party, or produced by a pro-fascist pipe maker, or by someone who just wanted to make a buck during the heyday of the Third Reich? I don’t know.
What I do know is: I don’t want to be accused to trying to make a buck off of the suffering of millions of victims of the racist regime that pulled the world into the most horrific slaughter in the history of mankind, to this point. I am tempted to make these pipes available to Pipeshoppe.com customers for the simple reason that they are a part of history. I can look at this pipe and reflect on the horror that inflamed the era in which it was fired.
I am hoping for some honest and considered opinion on whether such a pipe, a rare collectors item that it is, has a place on this website. Will this pipe be scarfed up by the Breitbart crowd and nostalgic neo-nazis? If so I don’t want to sully the site with what would be simply a symbol of hate. On the other side, if true pipe collectors are merely interested in buying a unique clay pipe, certainly I, for one, have never run across in the past, then I want Pipeshoppe.com to be the place where they can make that purchase.
I did not have relatives who perished in the Holocaust, so I have no standing to say whether these pipe are going to be too offense to list on the site. As a pipe collector, I find this unusual find extremely interesting. Let me know your thoughts.
I will allow comments on this post for a couple of weeks and consider your thoughts on how to proceed.