Amazon removes Auschwitz-themed Christmas ornaments after backlash

Jews from all over the world place small placards in front of the main railway building at the former Nazi death camp of Birkenau (Auschwitz II) in Oswiecim, southern Poland, May 2, 2011. Thousands of mainly Jewish people participated in the 17th annual "March of the Living," a Holocaust commemoration. |

The e-commerce companies Amazon and Wish faced backlash this week for allowing the sale of Holocaust-themed Christian ornaments on their websites.

On Sunday, the Auschwitz Memorial and Museum raised concerns that porcelain holiday ornaments and bottle openers featuring pictures of the Auschwitz concentration camp in German-occupied Poland were being sold on Amazon’s online marketplace. 

Over 1.1 million people — mostly Jews — were killed at the camp by Nazi Germany during World War II. 

The ornaments were categorized as "travel souvenirs.” One ornament featured images of the train tracks leading to the entrance of the concentration camp. Another featured an image of the barracks at Auschwitz.

Other ornaments for sale included ones featuring pictures of other famous sites in Poland.

“Selling ‘Christmas ornaments’ with images of Auschwitz does not seem appropriate,” a Sunday tweet from the Auschwitz Memorial reads. “Auschwitz on a bottle opener is rather disturbing and disrespectful. We ask @amazon to remove the items of those suppliers.”

Amazon responded promptly by removing the products from its website. A spokesperson for the company also confirmed with the German news outlet DW that the items of concern had been removed.

"All sellers must follow our selling guidelines and those who do not will be subject to action, including potential removal of their account," the Amazon spokesperson was quoted as saying.

Amazon’s seller guidelines state that “products related to human tragedies and natural disasters” are prohibited. Additionally, Amazon prohibits “products that promote intolerance based on race, religion, and sexual orientation.”

The company that listed the Auschwitz ornament for sale on Amazon under the username Fcheng has page after page of ornaments for sale that features images of famous locations and landmarks worldwide. 

After Amazon removed the questionable ornaments, The Auschwitz Memorial and Museum then voiced concern over a “Massacre Auschwitz Birkenau Jewish death” mouse pad that it found for sale on Amazon. 

Additionally, the memorial questioned the choice of freight train design for one Christmas ornament commemorating Israel’s Holocaust memorial, Yad Vashem in Jerusalem.

By Monday morning, the Auschwitz Memorial and Museum confirmed that the Auschwitz mouse pad and Yad Vashem ornament had both been removed. 

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

Later on Monday morning, The Auschwitz Memorial and Museum sounded an alarm about similar products being sold on, one of the largest e-commerce marketplaces in the U.S.

“‘Christmas ornaments’ with images from Auschwitz are also available on @WishShopping,” the museum tweeted. “We hope that their reaction will be similar to #Amazon and such project will be quickly removed too.”

A Wish spokesperson told The New York Times that the products are “completely inappropriate” and “should not have been listed by sellers on our platform.”

“We are removing them as a matter of urgency," the Wish spokesperson said. 

Wish’s seller guidelines prohibit “items or listings that promote, support or glorify hatred toward or otherwise demean people based upon race, ethnicity, religion, gender, gender identity, disability, or sexual orientation.”

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