Holocaust baby dresses auctioned by Israeli outlet halts

Image copyright PA Image caption The auction of 50 skin-tight summer dresses was cancelled on Tuesday

An Israeli court has ordered a local auction house to withdraw from sale a skin-tight black dress reportedly used by Holocaust inmates at Auschwitz in Poland.

The five-page ruling by the country’s Supreme Court on Tuesday also calls for the organisation to return the money it had garnered so far through the auction.

More than 100 people had registered to bid, estimating the dress’s value at 2,600 Israeli shekels (some £660), reports say.

Antique clothing set a world record in January at more than £1.5m ($2.3m).

CNS, the auction house in Israel, which was set up as a joint venture in 2015 between Antiques Roadshow maker Endemol Shine Group and Agence France-Presse, said it would submit a request to appeal.

The decision comes a day after Israel’s state archive voiced “great concern” over the possible sale of such clothing and other objects from the Holocaust.

Endemol Shine has previously said it would have a negative impact on the country’s image abroad.

CNS billed the dress as having been worn by Auschwitz inmates on more than 50 occasions between November 1944 and August 1945.

But the state archive said it had a dated document from Auschwitz that the clothing was stolen and had not been used on a significant number of days.

CNS said it had sold the dress to an unidentified Israeli interested in conserving it for the country’s heritage.

Image copyright AFP Image caption 100 people had registered to bid for the dress

Inquiries by the BBC about the appeal took a different turn than those originally made.

Initially there were two levels to the auction: an “interest only” level, where bids could be in roubles, and the “inactivity” level, where one’s name could be added by bidding without purchasing the item.

The former attracted bids of 4,000-11,000 roubles (around £40-£113) – far above the minimum of 1,000 roubles.

What is the value of clothing like this?

As auctioning trends change over time, a trend has emerged in the 1980s and 1990s for clothing items from the Great War, particularly for officers and enlisted men from the Balkans, and during WWII such items as uniform boots, buttons and epaulettes, and bomber jackets, also helped break new ground.

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The garment has drawn criticism because of its suspected association with the Nazis

Fashionable items with visual markings such as Tiffany rings or fleurs-de-lis were also big sellers.

In 1993, a boat jacket featured on the Titanic was sold for £249,000 in two stages in London and Barcelona for historical purposes – first to a buyers club, then to a curator of the Vessels Monument Centre, which was set up to collect items linked to the famous ship.

In 2015, Amelie Dubois, who says she was a slave laborer forced to work at Auschwitz, presented the first mass-produced, colourfully and intricately decorated footwear ever offered at auction.

The Christian Dior boots became the most expensive footwear ever auctioned and sold for $4.2m (more than £3m).

The shoes will now be returned to their owner.

Shanghai Auction House sold a dress from the 1950s that was deemed to be part of the collection of notorious Nazi war criminal Amon Goeth.

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