Page last updated at 11:27 GMT, Thursday, 3 July 2008 12:27 UK

Nazi badges auction 'disgraceful'

Nazi memorabilia to be auctioned (from Thos. Mawer & Son in Lincoln)
The Nazi unit shot 97 soldiers of the Royal Norfolk Regiment

The sale of memorabilia from an infamous Nazi unit which killed almost 100 British prisoners of war has been branded a "disgrace" by a war veteran.

Eleven uniform patches from the 3rd SS division Totenkopf are expected to sell for about 300 each on Saturday.

The "death's head" division killed 97 soldiers of the Royal Norfolk Regiment, who surrendered to them during the evacuation of Dunkirk in 1940.

The Nazi memorabilia is being auctioned by Thos Mawer & Son in Lincoln.

The Royal Norfolk Regiment soldiers, who were rounded up and shot in a field near Le Paradis in northern France, had been fighting a rearguard action.

It's terrible, it disgraces the memory of all the brave men who lost their lives for this country
Archie Wyatt

The Royal Norfolks were awarded five Victoria Crosses during World War II - more than any other British regiment during the conflict.

The massacre was ordered by SS officer Fritz Knochlein who was later executed for war crimes.

Archie Wyatt, 88, from Norwich, who served as a private in the Royal Norfolk Regiment from 1939 to 1950, said: "They should burn them all.

"It's terrible, it disgraces the memory of all the brave men who lost their lives for this country."

Eleven uniform badges and lapels are on offer, featuring the trademark "death's head" skull, Nazi insignia and eagle of the Third Reich.

The notorious Totenkopf division, initially made up of former concentration camp guards, became known as one of Nazi Germany's most ruthless and formidable combat formations.

I think it's very odd that somebody would want to buy these things and have them in their home
Kate Thaxton, curator at the Royal Norfolk Regimental Museum

Kate Thaxton, curator at the Royal Norfolk Regimental Museum, said: "In some parts of Europe it's illegal to deal in such memorabilia, although it's not here.

"I think it's very odd that somebody would want to buy these things and have them in their home. The place for them is in a museum collection."

Auctioneer Clinton Slingsby said: "As far as collectors are concerned this is an accepted part of the regiment's history."

He said the Nazi patches were part of a larger collection of military memorabilia that their client, Mr FJ Wood of Coningsby, Lincolnshire, had discovered when clearing out his attic.


SEE ALSO
'Nazi guard' loses last US appeal
19 May 08 |  Americas
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13 Mar 08 |  Derbyshire

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