Online store causes outrage after selling skirt with images of Auschwitz on it
During WWII, approximately six million European Jews lost their lives in the Holocaust. Of those that perished, about 1/6th of them were murdered at Auschwitz, one of the most notorious death camps run by the Nazis. Despite this truly horrific and tragic history, Auschwitz - and, indeed, the Holocaust as a whole - is still seen by some as a subject to be joked about or trivialised.
This week, it emerged that Redbubble.com, an e-commerce site often used by independent designers and artists to sell their work, had been selling pillows, mini skirts and tote bags with images of the death camp printed on them.
Auschwitz, which is now a memorial site, reached out to Redbubble on Twitter to challenge them on the matter.
"Do you really think that selling such products as pillows, mini skirts or tote bags with the images of Auschwitz — a place of enormous human tragedy where over 1.1 million people were murdered - is acceptable?" they asked. "This is rather disturbing and disrespectful."
Redbubble responded to apologise for the offensive items, and assured the memorial that they would be removing them from their site.
"Thank you for bringing this to our attention," they said. "The nature of this content is not acceptable and is not in line with our Community Guidelines. We are taking immediate action to remove these and similar works available on these product types."
However, this prompted the Auschwitz memorial to point out more antisemitic and insensitive items on the popular clothing store.
Once again, Redbubble said they were very sorry that this sort of material made it onto their site, and claimed that they were still working on removing it.
"Thanks again for reaching out to us, it is greatly appreciated, this work has now been removed," Redbubble stated. "We are currently still in the process of reviewing works of this nature but are working towards removal of all unacceptable works as soon as possible."
This is not the first time that the Auschwitz memorial has involved itself in issues online, either. In March of this year, they took to social media in order to highlight the problems with tourists posing for photos on the train tracks that brought millions of people into the camp and, ultimately, to their death.
"When you come to Auschwitz Museum, remember you are at the site where over 1 million people were killed. Respect their memory," they said. "There are better places to learn how to walk on a balance beam than the site which symbolizes deportation of hundreds of thousands to their deaths."
As the recent Redbubble incident shows, however, their pleas for respect fell on deaf ears. Perhaps now, after a more direct callout, Redbubble and other similar sites will be more vigilant in policing the sort of work that is hosted on their platforms.