Selling "Christmas ornaments" with images of Auschwitz does not seem appropriate. Wrote the Official account for the Memorial that preserves the site of the former German Nazi Auschwitz concentration and extermination camp. I couldn't agree more. The Memorial and Museum found the ornaments disturbing and disrespectful and asked Amazon to remove them.
According to the New York Times, Amazon removed holiday ornaments, a bottle opener and other products displaying images of the Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz after the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum in Poland. This came after the images of the products were shared on social media, prompting widespread outrage.
The tweet quickly gained traction and hours after it was posted, Amazon appeared to have removed the ornaments. By the evening none of the products appeared to be available for purchase. According to the official policy on offensive and controversial materials, products that are related to human tragedies are prohibited. The seller did appear to still remain in operation though.
The Auschwitz Memorial Twitter account also found an offensive "Massacre Auschwitcz Birkenau Jewish Death" mousepad for sale elsewhere on Amazon, which was also subsequently removed.
Many comments have users claiming that they will not be shopping on Amazon for any more Christmas gifts, but others are happy that Amazon did the moral and etical thing and removed the items.
In a statement to the New York Times, an Amazon spokeswoman said that the products had been removed and that “all sellers must follow our selling guidelines and those who do not will be subject to action, including potential removal of their account.” It was not immediately clear how long the merchandise was advertised on the online retail platform. Amazon declined to answer further questions.
Sadly that was not the end of the problem - the same products were quickly found on Wish.
Thankfully, they were quickly removed and an apology was posted.
Unfortunately, this is not likely to be the last time we see products like this online. This is what happens when you run a largely automated ecommerce company. James Thomson, a former Amazon employee and partner at Buy Box Experts, told Wired that the company does do some automatic screening before items go up for sale. “If you have certain words in your listings, Amazon will find them right away,” he says, like weapons or drugs. But humans don’t manually review each product, and plenty of goods that violate Amazon’s policies fall through the cracks.
You can help the Auschwitz Memorial and Museum by donating here. My heart goes to every prisoner who's passed those gates and to their families.' May we never forget.