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London Auction Withdraws Supposed Nazi Surgery Kit From Sale

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LONDON AUCTION
In this image made available by Villa Hall Auctions UK on Tuesday Feb. 7, 2012 show a surgical kit said to belong to a Nazi war criminal who oversaw a labor camp is being put up for auction in Britain. (AP/Villa Hall Auctions UK) | AP

LONDON — A surgical kit advertised as belonging to a Nazi concentration camp commandant has been withdrawn from sale, and questions have been raised about its origins.

Grace Cloke, a spokeswoman at Villa Hall Auctions, said Thursday it was withdrawn "on the recommendation of police" after the auction house received "nasty" phone calls.

The auctioneer said the box contains blades, scissors, a saw and straps apparently used for tourniquets – and is printed with the name Anton Burger.

The auctioneer had identified it as belonging to Anton Burger, an SS commander of the Theresienstadt camp. However, the German newspaper Die Welt has questioned that, reporting it was manufactured by the Anton Buerger company in Dresden.

The Dresden mayor's office confirmed to The Associated Press that a company named "Anton Buerger" – spelled "Burger" with the two German umlaut dots over the u, which translates to "ue" in English – manufactured surgical and orthopedic instruments in the city in the 1940s.

Cloke said she was unaware of the German newspaper report, and didn't know who connected the box with the commander.

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