Shalom Life | November 26, 2014

Jewish Owner of Montreal Store Selling Holocaust Soap

Jewish groups disgusted by sale of soap allegedly made from fat of Holocaust victims.

By: Dan Verbin

Published: March 28th, 2010 in News » World

Jewish Owner of Montreal Store Selling Holocaust Soap

The Jewish owner of a Montreal curiosity shop has sparked outrage by selling a bar of soap purportedly made from the fat of Holocaust victims.

The beige bar of soap has a Swastika stamped on it and was housed in a glass case with a card that said “Poland 1940” next to Nazi cigarette packs and mezuzahs.

“The very notion that a store would see a commercial value and put this out for sale is disturbing and disgusting. It turns my stomach,” said Anita Bromberg, B’nai Brith Legal Cousel.

CBC reported that Abraham Botines said the soap was “made out of people… the fat of people.” He said that selling such items was a way to ensure people remember the Holocaust.

Botines opened the Boutique du collectionneur Botines in 1967 in the Plateau-Mont-Royal area.

He claimed to have purchased the bar of soap from a retired Canadian soldier who discovered it in a concentration camp.

After a group of reporters assembled outside the store on Friday morning, the soap was removed from the glass case in the front window.

The media was first contacted about the item the day before by a concerned Jewish person.

In an interview with the Canadian Press, Botines said that he will not show the soap to anyone unless they are serious about purchasing it for $300. “It’s my soap and I’m free to do anything I want with it.”

He added that he attempted to sell the bar of soap to a Holocaust museum but they were not interested.

“Should we put the atrocities aside for crass commercialization? I don’t think we should ever be ready for that,” said Bromberg. “The store owner apparently said, ‘Don’t worry I won’t sell it to a neo-Nazi.’ Let’s give him the benefit of the doubt (but) you tell me how you spot a neo-Nazi. It’s a ridiculous statement.”

Heidi Oppen, B’nai Brith Quebec Regional Director, visited the store on Friday pretending to be shopping for paintings. She described to Shalom Life the shock of finding the bar of soap and 10 Nazi cigarette packs beside mezuzahs in a glass display case.

“I was disgusted. I thought it was awful. The fact that the guy in the store didn’t find it offensive at all and he is Jewish, that really bothered me,” said Oppen.

Initially, Openn spoke to Botines’ son and store co-owner, Ivan, whom she described as “very friendly”.

Ivan refused to tell her how much the bar of soap cost except that it was “expensive.” He told her that he was Jewish and didn’t think it was offensive to be selling the soap.

Ivan explained that he was not certain what the soap is made from.

“I can only tell you what (my father) told me, which is it was probably made from human fat or grease,” he said in an interview with CTV News.

Oppen also inquired about reports that the store was selling a braid of hair labeled as being from a Nazi “extermination camp.” But she saw no evidence that item was in the store.

She briefly spoke to Abraham Botines who told her he did not understand what all the fuss was about. When she tried to ask additional questions, he became aggressive and shouted “Get out!”

Oppen said that Botines and his son should understand how disturbing the sale of the soap is, especially as they are Jewish.

“I’m beyond disgusted in these people. They just see this as another collector’s item,” she said.

B’nai Brith has asked police to investigate.

It is not illegal in Canada to sell items that have swastikas on them. Bromberg said that B’nai Brith gets a number of calls each year pertaining to the sale of Nazi memorabilia, the majority dealing with flags and uniforms. Five complaints in 2009 did not result in criminal charges.

However, Bromberg noted that if the soap is authentic, selling it would violate Canadian laws forbidding the sale of human body parts. If conversely, the soap is not authentic, claiming it was made out of human remains would be fraudulent and also illegal.

Jewish historians and Holocaust experts acknowledge that the Nazis had a program that experimented with using fat from the remains of concentration camp victims to make soap but there is no evidence there was ever a program of mass production.

“The only appropriate place for such items is in a museum where it’s there for educating the public of the true meaning of Never Again,” said Bromberg.

Miss America Thanks Russian Jews For Their Support Miss America Thanks Russian Jews For Their Support TrendingMiddle Eastern Men Attacked a 4-Year-Old Jewish Boy in New Zealand Middle Eastern Men Attacked a 4-Year-Old Jewish Boy in New Zealand TrendingUniting the World in One Tree Uniting the World in One Tree Trending
 

The Essential Hanukkah Gift Guide 2014: Piece of History [GIVEAWAY]

November 25, 2014 | By Daniel Koren
The Essential Hanukkah Gift Guide 2014: Piece of History [GIVEAWAY]

See inside for your chance to win the "Zion's Action Figures" 4-pack, including all your favorite Jews from Golda Meir to David Ben-Gurion

Read More

Shalom, Cancun: A Jewish Culture Guide

November 25, 2014 | By Sara Torvik
Shalom, Cancun: A Jewish Culture Guide

As it turns out, the development of a Jewish community in the city is actually quite recent, dating back to the mid-1970s

Read More

Seth Rogen: James Franco is a "Weird Guy" [VIDEO]

November 25, 2014 | By Ashley Baylen
Seth Rogen: James Franco is a "Weird Guy" [VIDEO]

While the two may be best friends, Rogen at least admits what we've all been thinking

Read More

Detroit Lions Star Reggie Bush Compares Mike Brown to Palestinians

November 25, 2014 | By Daniel Koren
Detroit Lions Star Reggie Bush Compares Mike Brown to Palestinians

The NFL player posted a photo onto his Instagram account, holding a sign that reads 'The Palestinian People know what mean to be shot while unarmed because of your ethnicity. #Ferguson #Justice'

Read More

Deaths of Joan Rivers, Robin Williams & Jennifer Lawrence Nude Photos Are Top Internet Search Items for 2014

November 25, 2014 | By Ashley Baylen
Deaths of Joan Rivers, Robin Williams & Jennifer Lawrence Nude Photos Are Top Internet Search Items for 2014

Other hot topics include the Israel/Hamas conflict, Ebola, Ray Rice, and Kim Kardashian

Read More

Belgian Parents Demand Teacher Be Fired After anti-Semitic Facebook Post

November 25, 2014 | By Daniel Koren
Belgian Parents Demand Teacher Be Fired After anti-Semitic Facebook Post

The teacher at a Jewish school wrote that Jews were the most "difficult and unworldly" people she knew

Read More

Turkish President Erdogan Says Women Are Not "Equal" to Men

November 25, 2014 | By Daniel Koren
Turkish President Erdogan Says Women Are Not "Equal" to Men

At a meeting on women and justice, Erdogan said feminists "don't accept motherhood"

Read More

More Headlines