Nazi-era memorabilia belongs in a museum, not private collections, the Holocaust Centre of New Zealand says.
But a Whanganui auctioneer says he believes keeping it in a private collection doesn't glorify the Holocaust.
A collection of war memorabilia, which included some items from Nazi-era Germany, was sold at Haywards Auctions on Saturday and auctioneer Brian Hayward said most of it had been purchased.
"We had 456 lots, and we've got 22 lots left," Hayward said.
"It was standing room only, and there are people worldwide who collect that type of thing, not because of what happened, or the political side of it, but purely because they are collectors of it."
Chris Harris, chief executive of the Holocaust Centre of New Zealand in Wellington, told the Whanganui Chronicle he didn't "see the true relevance of having this material in New Zealand, unless it was in a museum".
"My main concern is that material like this could fall into the wrong hands," Harris said.
"Our job is to educate people on the Holocaust and to say to them 'never again' and let's learn from this."
Hayward said he could understand why people might be offended by the presence of the Nazi items, but "you can't do anything about history".
"The worst thing is that we're still warring globally, and it's like we haven't learned anything, really," Hayward said.
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"Things like this will always be in people's consciousnesses forever and a day, because of the atrocious things that happened, but it is what it is, and we have our own history in this country that is coming to the fore now too."
Seventy-five per cent of the sale came from one local collector who was downsizing and moving to a smaller residence, Hayward said.
"There are probably two or three people in town who collect that sort of thing, but you would never know.
"They buy it and it goes into their collection, but they're not out there glorifying anything.
"Some people collect biros, or bottles, or toy cars, and I was just there to do a job.
"We're on to our next sale now, and we're back to our bread and butter."
Harris said he had been approached by someone last year who had tried to sell Nazi memorabilia to the Holocaust Centre, an offer which he had declined.
"I said, look, we would encourage you to donate it as opposed to sell it, and think about where it came from and who it had belonged to.
"He wouldn't back down and I think he eventually sold it to a private collector.
"As a private collection, what's your point?
"I think the best thing a person could do would be to buy this stuff and donate it to a museum, because really, that's where it belongs."