Amazon stops selling Auschwitz 'Christmas ornaments' after backlash
By JENNIFER HASSAN | The Washington Post | Published: December 2, 2019
Amazon has halted the sale of Auschwitz-themed products such as Christmas decorations, a mouse-pad 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 Auschwitz-themed star holiday decoration was described as a "high quality snowflake," while one seller, going by the name of Fcheng, 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 Koran 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 stepped-on or otherwise disrespected by customers."
"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 a statement in January.
In 2018, a report from two watchdog groups found that Amazon was continuing to profit from the sale of white-supremacist propaganda such as books, swastika jewelry and baby onesies featuring an image of a burning cross — despite the company's policy against selling products that promote hatred.
Selling "Christmas ornaments" with images of Auschwitz does not seem appropriate. Auschwitz on a bottle opener is rather disturbing and disrespectful. We ask @amazon to remove the items of those suppliers. https://t.co/0uG2JG558e pic.twitter.com/ucZoTWPk1W— Auschwitz Memorial (@AuschwitzMuseum) December 1, 2019