Jewish groups in Montreal are denouncing a curiosity shop where a bar of soap allegedly made from Holocaust victims’ fat is for sale. The store owner – who is Jewish – claims the soap was “made out of people … the fat of people.” He said he wouldn’t sell any of the items to a neo-Nazi. Tim Sargeant reports.
Montreal police have asked for an in-house chemical analysis of a bar of soap with a swastika stamped on it to see whether it was made from the corpses of Second World War victims, as the vendor claimed last week.
Police seized the soap Friday after various media visited the curio shop on St. Laurent Blvd. between Mt. Royal Ave. and Villeneuve St., operated by Abraham Botines.
No warrant was issued and the store owner cooperated with the police officer who visited his store, chief Inspector Paul Chablo said through a spokesperson.
The results of the analysis should be completed “very soon,” but Chablo said he could not be more precise.
The analysis is to determine whether human remains are part of the soap bar.
The B’nai Brith League for Human Rights complained, citing the Criminal Code ban on violating human remains.
Asked to comment on the police seizure of the soap bar, Anita Bromberg, a spokesperson for B’nai Brith in Toronto, said the organization is pleased police are continuing their investigation.
“We are also pleased that the shop owner is cooperating, which indicates a change, since before he was indicating to reporters that he had every right to sell it,” she said.
Though historians doubt the Germans made soap out of human remains, Bromberg said she was pleased police are investigating “the claim that he was making.”
If that claim turns out to be false, other legal action might be possible, she suggested.
The store vendors last week backtracked from their original claim, telling one reporter they were not certain what the soap was made of.
He first offered to sell it for $200, and later set the price at $300.
Botines, who is Jewish, has been criticized in the past by other Jews for selling Nazi memorabilia at his shop.
Historian Frank Chalk, director of the Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies at Concordia University, says the consensus among Holocaust historians is that Germans never made soap out of human remains.
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