Auschwitz being sold on Australian online store

May 9, 2019 by Elana Bowman
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Redbubble an online retailer based in Australia has advertised an Auschwitz mini-skirt, cushion, and tote bag listed for purchase on their site.

The items priced between $13 and $49 circulated on social media which prompted Auschwitz Memorial at Auschwitz itself to report the merchandise to Redbubble.

“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?”  Auschwitz Memorial tweeted. “This is rather disturbing and disrespectful.”

Redbubble responded that they were taking immediate action to remove the items and any similar products.

“Thank you for bringing this to our attention. The nature of this content is not acceptable and is not in line with our Community Guidelines,” Redbubble tweeted.  

Auschwitz Memorial then tweeted: “We have been wondering @redbubble if ‘the nature of this content’ is also ‘not acceptable’ for you and is ‘not in line with your Community Guidelines’? We wish to bring this to your attention.”

Auschwitz Memorial later shared another screenshot of a t-shirt available on the site, depicting a bearded man in a top hat pointing towards the observer, with the caption “Dr Holocaust wants you to get a beard.”

Redbubble told J-Wire: “Redbubble is a global marketplace for more than 845,000 independent artists, who upload their own art and images to the platform in order to sell their designs. We have a dedicated team who is charged with proactively reviewing the tens of thousands of designs that are uploaded each day, and removing content that does not meet our Community Guidelines and User Agreement.  We also have onsite reporting functions in place should community members discover works that breach these guidelines, that have not yet been removed. Redbubble is grateful when any such material on the site is brought to our attention.

Redbubble takes a strong stance against racism and violence, including the atrocities committed in Nazi concentration camps, and scan specifically for this type of content daily. We have taken immediate action to remove the works identified by The Auschwitz Memorial, and apologise that it was necessary. We are continuously working to ensure that we are able to keep offending content of this nature off of Redbubble and will be further adjusting our policies moving forward.” (The statement was made by the Redbubble company who preferred not to have any names disclosed) and ask to be quoted as Redbubble in the statement,

Their CEO Barry Newstead penned an apology on behalf of the Redbubble team:

An Apology from our CEO

“On behalf of the Redbubble team, I would like to apologise for the hurt that has been caused by the images of Auschwitz and their appearance on consumer products. I would also like to thank the Auschwitz Memorial, and others, for bringing it to our attention.

The Holocaust is an historical crime and tragedy that is personal to me. My great-grandparents escaped Eastern Europe for South Africa before the devastating events, and I grew up learning about the Holocaust in our home and community. It shaped much of who I am. I have visited concentration camps and felt in my bones the pain of these locations, and of the immense crimes against humanity committed there. So like everyone else, I was appalled when I realized these images were on sale as products on our site.

Redbubble is a learning organisation, we learn from our mistakes. We do set our policies and make judgments by listening to the communities around us, so that we don’t operate in a vacuum.

We hear you. Over the past day and a half, we have listened, acted quickly, and are updating our policies so they go further with regards to imagery related to the Holocaust and other crimes against humanity.

At Redbubble we want to bring more creativity into the world and in doing so, more joy and human connection. We aspire to do better.”

Upon searching their website for Auschwitz, a mug and t-shirt are still currently listed on their site. Redbubble have been informed, and the items will be removed.

J-Wire found Auschwitz items still listed on their site, and let her know, and reported them again to Redbubble.

A member of the company responded saying: “I have conducted the same search and forwarded the results onto the broader team who will review and consider taking appropriate action.”

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