NEW YORK — Rarely do personnel records inspire Academy Award-winning films, let alone a bidding war starting at $3 million. But when the list in question is that of Oskar Schindler, the German businessman credited with saving the lives of over 1,000 Jewish prisoners during the World War II, interest can turn up in some surprising places.
Long-time holocaust denier and founder of the Institute for Historical Review, Willis Carto, was initially skeptical of the authenticity of the document—one of the four extant lists typed by Schindler’s accountant and the only one in private hands. “But a careful reading of eBay’s Buyer Protection Policy and the affidavit that is to accompany the list put to rest all my doubts,” said Carto, who is currently being vetted for clearance as a pre-approved bidder.
Feedback left by sellers from previous online auctions note that while Carto “regularly insults all logic as well as the memory of the holocaust’s victims,” he also “pays promptly.” While proud of his record on eBay, Carto expressed embarrassment over having “spent decades professing that the alleged extermination of some six million Jews is a hoax.”
“I feel so stupid,” he added.
Explaining that he had been holding out for “just one piece of confirmatory evidence [he] could hold in [his] hands,” Carto came to terms with his flawed thinking when he spotted Auction Cause’s listing for the 1945 document, which catalogs the names of 811 men assigned for transfer to work in Schindler’s armament factory.
Gary Zimet, who is coordinating the sale, believes that “it’s a tremendously important relic and any buyer should do with it what he/she sees fit.” Continued Zimet, “As a business man, I recognize that the more people I can convince of its value and authenticity, the more money I stand to make. If I can weed out some anti-Semitism and ignorance in the process, that’s a bonus.”
The listing is set to expire on Sunday, July 28, leaving an agonizing wait for the thousands watching the auction from the sidelines as well as potential bidders, like Carto, who says he’s more than ready to use eBay’s “Buy-It-Now” feature.