December 2, 2019 / 4:02 PM / 13 days ago

Amazon pulls Auschwitz Christmas decorations from site

BERLIN (Reuters) - Amazon (AMZN.O) has withdrawn from sale products decorated with images of the former Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland including Christmas decorations after a complaint from the organization that preserves the site as a memorial.

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Amazon is seen on the door of an Amazon Books retail store in New York City, U.S., February 14, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

The Auschwitz museum drew attention to the products on its Twitter account on Sunday, calling them “disturbing and disrespectful”, and asked Amazon to remove them. On Monday, Amazon said it had done so.

“All sellers must follow our selling guidelines and those who do not will be subject to action, including potential removal of their account,” an Amazon spokesman said.

Amazon’s guidelines for sellers include the following line: “Amazon does not allow products that promote, incite or glorify hatred, violence, racial, sexual or religious intolerance or promote organizations with such views.”

The guidelines also state: “We’ll also remove listings that graphically portray violence or victims of violence.”

Between 1940 and 1945, about 1.5 million people, mainly Jews, were killed by the Nazis at the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp in German-occupied Poland.

The Auschwitz museum said the products in question were still available on e-commerce marketplace Wish and called for their removal there too.

A Wish spokesperson said: “These items are completely inappropriate and should not have been listed by sellers on our platform. We are removing them as a matter of urgency.”

The products include ceramic ornaments, computer mouse pads and bottle tops decorated with images of the camp, made by a company which produces a wide range of souvenirs like fridge magnets and mugs featuring images of tourist destinations.

Reuters was not immediately able to contact the maker of the decorations.

“We consider this rather an isolated incident,” Pawel Sawicki, press officer for the Auschwitz Memorial, told Reuters by email. “What seems to be an issue is that more and more producers use some image-grabbing software and place hundreds of images on their products hoping to find customers.”

Reporting by Emma Thomasson and Alan Charlish; Editing by Mark Heinrich

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