Surgical tools belonging to a Nazi concentration camp commander have been withdrawn from sale at an auction house in Cornwall following protests.

The surgical kit, which contained a hacksaw, scalpels, scissors and blades, was engraved with the name of Anton Burger, an SS commander of the Theresienstadt concentration camp between July 1943 and February 1944, where 140,000 Jews were held and 33,000 died.

Grace Cloke, a spokeswoman for Villa Hall Auctions, said the item was withdrawn "on the recommendation of police" after the auction house received "nasty" phone calls.

The velvet-lined wooden box and its contents, which had a guide price of £2,000 to £4,000, was due to be auctioned by James F Kendling and Partners in Bude.

It is believed that the tools were used in the Nazi's brutal experiments on prisoners.

Cloke explained the surgical kit was being sold by a private vendor who wished to remain anonymous.

The German newspaper Die Welt questioned the origins of the kit, reporting it was manufactured by the Anton Buerger (sic) company in Dresden.

Cloke said she was unaware of the report and did not know who connected the box with the commander.