Walmart has apologized after being alerted by customers that it was selling a poster depicting the Nazi concentration camp Dachau, which was advertised online as “a great addition to your home or office.”
“We were horrified to see that this item was on our site. We sincerely apologize, and worked quickly to remove it,” Walmart said in a statement. “The item was sold through a third-party seller on our marketplace. We have shared our disappointment with them and have learned they are removing the publisher of this item entirely from their inventory.”
Heeb magazine, which reports on Jewish issues, captured screenshots of the item and its promotional description before it was removed from Walmart's site:
The poster read "Arbeit Macht Frei," translated as “work makes you free,” a slogan that was erected at the entrances to several Nazi concentration camps during World War II. More than 30,000 were killed at the Dachau concentration camp in Germany.
Here is another example of “Arbeit Macht Frei” at the gate to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp memorial in Oranienburg, Germany. Sachsenhausen operated from 1933 until 1945 as a concentration camp run by the Nazis where political opponents, Jews and Soviet prisoners of war were imprisoned and many of them murdered. (Sean Gallup/Getty Images)
The website Digiday reported over the weekend that the poster was also on sale on Sears’ and Amazon’s sites; however, those retailers pulled the product as well.
"The item, which was listed by an independent third-party on Sears Marketplace, violates our guidelines and was immediately removed," Sears said in a statement to ABC News.
Several online commenters felt the sale of the poster shouldn’t necessarily be viewed as offensive.
User Yori Yanover posted this comment on Heeb’s site:
Now, it's true that the Walmart language made me cringe a little, but I fail to see the problem in an image website selling images. Not, mind you, on 1st amendment grounds, but in general -- these images and much worse ones are sold and framed in the gift shops of respectable museums. I find the "shocked" expressed by the author less than credible. Our own Jewish institutions have been peddling these things for decades.
Michael N. Marcus wrote: “I don't usually defend Walmart. However I want to point out that many websites including Walmart, Amazon, Sears and Best Buy allow other companies to sell products, often with little or no supervision by the website operator.”
“Sometimes products become available that are substandard or offensive but they are usually removed quickly if there are valid complaints,” he added.
(H/T: ABC News)