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eBay bars Holocaust artifacts, still sells racist items, slavery memorabilia

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Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets,History

Internet auction site eBay this week bowed to critics and pulled down distasteful Holocaust artifacts for sale, but is still selling racially-charged items and anti-Semitic relics, according to a review of the website.

When users call up the category “black Americana,” for example, Images of vintage soap labels reading “Darkie,” a lawn jockey of an African-American boy eating watermelon and a slave trade bracelet pops up.

Type in “Stalin,” and anti-Semitic Soviet leaflets appear. There is a whole section devoted to porn.

Earlier this week, after some media criticized the sale of Holocaust items on the auction site, eBay changed their policy on the artifacts.

"We are very sorry these items have been listed on eBay and we are removing them," eBay said in a statement. "We don't allow listings of this nature, and dedicate thousands of staff to policing our site and use the latest technology to detect items that shouldn't be for sale. We very much regret that we didn't live up to our own standards. We have made a donation to charity to reflect our concern."

However, those who sell historical items said that eBay was making a mistake, arguing that even if the items should be held by museums, there are few ways other than auctions and online sales for the institutions to discover that the materials are available.

Bill Panagopulos, the president of Maryland-based Alexander Historical Auctions, for example said eBay should allow the sale of “legitimate” historic items.

"It's hypocrisy gone wild,” said Panagopulos. “eBay considers ads with vile caricatures of Jews, and porn to be acceptable, yet bans the sale of completely legitimate and important historic documents and relics which otherwise would largely be unavailable to institutions and collectors."

The auction site had no immediate comment.

Paul Bedard, The Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at pbedard@washingtonexaminer.com.