Auschwitz-themed Christ­mas items pulled from Ama­zon af­ter back­lash

Orlando Sentinel - - WALL STREET REPORT - By Jen­nifer Has­san

Ama­zon has halted the sale of Auschwitz-themed prod­ucts such as Christ­mas dec­o­ra­tions, a mousepad and a bot­tle opener from its web­site, fol­low­ing an out­pour­ing of dis­gust on so­cial me­dia led by Poland’s of­fi­cial memo­rial mu­seum.

The items fea­tured im­ages from Auschwitz, the for­mer Nazi camp where an es­ti­mated 1.1 mil­lion men, women and chil­dren died dur­ing World War II. The star hol­i­day dec­o­ra­tion was de­scribed as a “high qual­ity snowflake,” while one seller had de­scribed the bot­tle opener as a “mem­o­rable gift, per­fect for ev­ery fes­ti­val.”

The Auschwitz Mu­seum took to Twit­ter on Sun­day to con­demn the on­line re­tailer for sell­ing the prod­ucts on its web­site, call­ing the prod­ucts “dis­turb­ing and dis­re­spect­ful.”

The bot­tle opener fea­tures an image of the barbed wire fenc­ing at the camp in Poland de­scribed by the seller as “a beau­ti­ful pat­tern nested in the mid­dle.” Other im­ages of Auschwitz, the largest of the Nazi con­cen­tra­tion camps, were be­ing sold on heart and bell shaped mer­chan­dise for the price of $12-$14.

Many on so­cial me­dia also ex­pressed out­rage, prompt­ing the term “Auschwitz-themed Christ­mas” to trend in Bri­tain on Mon­day morn­ing. Over the week­end many called on Ama­zon to re­move the prod­ucts and apol­o­gize. The Wash­ing­ton Post is owned by Ama­zon founder and Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Jeff Be­zos.

“All sell­ers must fol­low our sell­ing guide­lines and those who do not will be sub­ject to ac­tion, in­clud­ing po­ten­tial re­moval of their ac­count,” Ama­zon said in a state­ment to The Wash­ing­ton Post on Mon­day. “The prod­ucts in ques­tion have been re­moved.”

As of Mon­day morn­ing, none of the prod­ucts cited in tweet could be found on the Ama­zon web­site.

“Thank you to those who re­acted, re­ported and put pres­sure here,” the Auschwitz mu­seum tweeted.

Ear­lier this year Ama­zon re­moved door­mats, bath­mats and other items im­printed with verses from the Qu­ran from its mar­ket­place fol­low­ing a del­uge of com­plaints from mem­bers of the Mus­lim com­mu­nity and ad­vo­cacy group, the Coun­cil on Amer­i­can-Is­lamic Re­la­tions.

The group claimed that the mer­chan­dise was of­fen­sive to Mus­lims be­cause the Is­lamic ref­er­ences would be steppe­don. “It should be of­fen­sive to any­one that a re­li­gious text would be on a mat that goes in a bath­room or is on a toi­let seat,” the group said.

In 2018, a re­port from two watch­dog groups found Ama­zon con­tin­ued to profit from the sale of white-su­prem­a­cist pro­pa­ganda such as books, swastika jew­elry and baby one­sies fea­tur­ing a burn­ing cross — de­spite the com­pany’s pol­icy against sell­ing prod­ucts that pro­mote ha­tred.

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