That was a hashtag I have seen on twitter this week. And it really got me furious. Not the hashtag itself, but the story behind it.
Since it is the centenary of WW1 this year there is a lot of related traffic on twitter and I started following a few of the great historians there, sharing their knowledge.
And when Rob Schäfer (@GERArmyResearch), a german WW1 historian used this hashtag the first time, I couldn’t believe my eyes to see the story behind it!
There are really people out there who are selling WWII dog tags on ebay! Just search for “German dog tag”.
Til 2006 a Russian ebayer called “vlad2308” sold thousands of original WWII dog tags, he got banned from ebay in 2006. Under German law it is illegal to buy and sell them. Some ebayers even put big-font-sized “disclaimers” on their offers that they wouldn’t be in conflict with ebay Terms & conditions since they won’t ship to Germany. Which is not true, btw. And I have no idea why ebay is tolerating this. But actually it doesn’t matter. If the sellers couldn’t offer them on ebay anymore, they would find another platform.
Although this Vlad is not active anymore, his goods are still for sale. Thousands of dog tags from battlefields like Stalingrad – average price $30-50. Mostly on sale from Russia or Latvia, but some also from the US and UK.
This is so disgusting!
There are still families out there (from both sides of the Front) who are missing husbands, fathers, uncles or brothers.
If those (and other) dog tags are not returned to the countries they belong to, those families will never know the fate of their loved ones.
It is like “killing them a second time”!
So, whoever you are, stop doing what you are doing. Return the dog tags so that relatives can find some peace.. 70 years later.