Christmas Ornaments and Concentration Camps


Ellie Hood

On December 1st, the Auschwitz Memorial sent a disturbing tweet to Amazon asking them to remove an item that was being retailed from their site.

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

One of the ornaments as shown on Amazon

Located in once Nazi-occupied Poland, Auschwitz-Birkenau was a death camp that was fully operative during the Holocaust. Over 1.3 million Jews were sent to Auschwitz, and 1.1 million were killed there. Those 1.3 million Jews were often brought from other camps via cattle car, which was also depicted on some of the ornaments. Auschwitz still stands today, but it is now a museum and a memorial designed to commemorate the victims and survivors of the Holocaust.

After vicious response on the internet, the third-party seller took their ornaments down. However, 12 hours later, Auschwitz Memorial posted another tweet.

Another ornament depicting the entrance to Auschwitz

“Sadly it is not over yet @amazon. The ‘Massacre Auschwitz (!) Birkenau Jewish Death’ mousepad is another disturbing online product.”

Shortly after, the third-party seller removed all their Holocaust-related products. According to CNN, the seller’s products are supposed to depict famous tourist locations, but Amazon’s community guidelines prevent seller’s from selling products that can be deemed as offensive to others. Earlier this year, a range of products was removed that was considered to be offensive to Muslims, and a anti-vax documentary series was also removed.

The mousepad as shown on Amazon

Although the buzz is over, it is important that we respect sensitive topics such as the Holocaust. To learn more about the Holocaust, visit Yad Vashem (@yadvashem) on Twitter. Yad Vashem is dedicated to Holocaust research, documentation, education, and commemoration.


Photo Credits and Works Cited

Ornament Photos from Amazon Memorial Twitter page (@AuschwitzMuseum)

“Auschwitz Concentration Camp.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 8 Nov. 2019.

Lunders, Katelyn, and Jennifer Aldrich. “15 Best Christmas Ornament Storage Hacks That’ll Make Decorating Your Tree a Total Breeze.” Country Living, Hearst Magazine Media, 20 Aug. 2019.

Picheta, Rob. “Amazon Pulls Christmas Ornaments Showing Auschwitz Concentration Camp.” CNN, Cable News Network, 2 Dec. 2019.