Estonia / 09-09-2012
Exhausted concentration camp torture victims – that is what happy owners of new slim bodies will look like, according to an Estonian newspaper. The paper illustrated an ad for slimming pills with a gloomy photo of prisoners.
The cynical inscription near the World War II concentration camp victims. said: “One, Two, Three… Dr Mengele slimming pills work wonders for you!” Below read: “There were no thickset people in Buchenwald!”
The joyful appeal referred to one of the first and the largest of the concentration camps on German soil, Buchenwald, and Dr Josef Mengele, infamous for performing human experiments on camp inmates, including children, for which he was called the “Angel of Death”.
While the pill advertisers have not provided any comments on their choice, the advertisement has already caused outrage within the country.
The deputy-mayor of the country’s capital, Tallinn, was the first to give his reaction.
The paper illustrated an ad for slimming pills with a gloomy photo of prisoners.
“Do you, the respected editors of Eesti Ekspress, happen to know that a total of 56, 549 people were tormented at Buchenwald?” local media quotes Mihhail Kõlvart as asking. “And that Dr Mengele staged monstrous experiments on Jews, by the way not in Buchenwald, but in Auschwitz? That he personally selected the arriving prisoners and personally sent over 40,000 people to gas chambers? Do you find it amusing?”
Chairwoman of the Jewish Community of Estonia Alla Yacobson condemned the Holocaust jokes and “marketing catches” on the pages of the country’s Postimees newspaper.
“The cynical jokes about the Holocaust illustrated by the photo of the concentration camp prisoners not only trespass the bounds of good taste, but are vivid evidence that our society experiences large problems with moral and ethical values,” she said.
This is not the only example of Estonia using World War II atrocities for public purposes. Not long ago the national gas company GasTerm Eesti used the photo of Auschwitz concentration camp front gate to advertise its products.
The gate inscription “Arbeit macht frei” (Work sets you free) was seen very clearly, as well as the company’s caption “Gas heating – flexible, convenient, and effective.”
The photo was later removed from the company’s website and a short apology was posted instead: “If a photo posted here earlier brought anyone any inconvenience we sincerely apologize.”
Both advertisements were labeled as a “Victorious march of immorality” by the Jewish Community of Estonia.
Russia has slammed the advertisement, which mocked “the memory of millions.”
“We consider these facts as a deeply immoral mockery of the memory of the millions of people of different nationalities, who were brutally tortured in Nazi concentration camps during WWII. Such a disgrace which the newspaper’s management is trying to present as a ‘joke’, should not be the case in countries that claim to be of a civilized status,” Russia’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
Russia expressed its hope that Estonian authorities will take measures to stop such jokes of the victims of fascism and will call responsible authors to account.