Online Retailer Removes Auschwitz T-Shirts After ADL Voices Concern
New York, NY, December 4, 2006 … An online retailer has removed novelty t-shirts bearing the message, "My grandparents went to Auschwitz … and all I got was this lousy t-shirt" after being notified of concerns by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).
CafePress.com has removed pages advertising the "Auschwitz Souvenir T-Shirt" and several other shirts bearing similarly offensive messages and imagery associated with the former Nazi death camp.
"It is incomprehensible to us why anyone would create a t-shirt that makes light of the mass murder carried out at a former Nazi concentration camp," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. "While we understand the genre of novelty shirts, we also believe that retailers bear a responsibility to ensure that their products do not cross the line into causing offense or pain to others, or trivialize important and serious subjects like the Holocaust. We are gratified that CafePress.com has acted responsibly and removed these shirts from their Web site."
In a letter sent December 1 to Fred Durham, CafePress Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, the League urged the company to "immediately discontinue sales of this shirt," noting that the t-shirts formerly available at www.cafepress.com/auschwitz had resulted in many complaints to the League from Holocaust survivors, their family members and others offended by the message.
To date, ADL has not had any formal response to its letter to CafePress. However, the t-shirts were promptly removed after the letter was e-mailed to the company's Foster City, California headquarters.
CafePress is an online marketplace with 2.5 million members that offers e-commerce service to independent vendors, who can use the site to create and sell a wide variety of products, according to their Web site. The site does not take responsibility for the content of merchandise, but does maintain a "Shopkeeper Agreement" that prohibits questionable material, including "items that make inappropriate use of Nazi symbols and glamorize the actions of Hitler."
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.