Lebanese Christian Is Recognized for Buying Nazi Artifacts, Donating Them to Yad Vashem

Amanda Casanova

A wealthy Lebanese Christian businessman who spent thousands of dollars to buy Hitler artifacts at an auction to keep them from being bought by neo-Nazis was honored by the President of Israel this weekend.

According to CBN News, Abdallah Chatila was recognized at an event in Jerusalem with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin. Rivlin thanked Chatila for buying the artifacts. Chatila had donated the items to Keren Hayesod, a Jewish organization that promotes Jewish immigration to Israel.

“Your donation is of great importance at this time, when people are trying to deny historical truth,” Rivlin told Chatila. “These artifacts, which you are generously making available to Yad Vashem, will help convey the legacy of the Holocaust to the next generation who will not meet survivors."

The artifacts included Hilter’s personal top hat. The items were placed in a safe at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem.

"What you did was seemingly so simple,” Rivlin said. “But this act of grace shows the whole world how to fight the glorification of hatred and incitement against other people. It was a truly human act. I know you have been thanked many times, but it was important for me to say it loud and clear here at Beit HaNasi in Jerusalem – we appreciate it and thank you for it very much."

Yad Vashem Chairman Avner Shalev also attended the event and thanked Chatila.

"What you did as a spontaneous act ensures that these artifacts do not end up in the wrong hands. You stopped that, and brought them to the place where history is told and where the next generation is educated. Thank you very much,” he said.

Chatila said he read about the items going to auction and decided to buy them.

“When I read about the artifacts being for sale, I immediately thought I have to buy them and destroy them,” he said. “Then I thought I have no right to decide what to do with the items, and am so glad they are now at Yad Vashem. I feel a shiver when I understand how important this is for the Jewish people, but I think there is a wider message for the whole world, that 'never again' is not a meaningless slogan. Through acts such as this, we can ensure that these things never happen again."

Photo courtesy: Cole Keister/Unsplash

Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and She blogs at The Migraine Runner.