In late 2019, online mega-retailer Amazon removed Christmas ornaments from its website that contained images of Auschwitz, the death camp in Poland where Nazis massacred more than a million people, the vast majority of whom were Jews, during World War II.
Amazon was slammed by the Auschwitz Memorial, which both preserves the site of the concentration camp and works to keep the memory of those who perished in the camp alive while warning against the forces that allowed the Holocaust to take place.
Incredulous readers asked Snopes.com to verify whether the ornaments were actually for sale.
Yes, such items were sold on Amazon’s site, though it’s unclear for how long; a seller who goes by the name “Fcheng” placed the items on the platform. An Amazon spokesman confirmed via an email to Snopes that the “products in question have been removed.” All third parties who use Amazon’s website to sell products “must follow our selling guidelines and those who do not will be subject to action, including potential removal of their account,” according to Amazon.
The Auschwitz Memorial subsequently posted more Holocaust-exploiting items sold on the Amazon platform.
Amazon spokesman Patrick Graham told us all of the aforementioned items have been removed. According to the site, Amazon sellers must follow rules barring products that “promote, incite or glorify hatred, violence, racial, sexual or religious intolerance or promote organizations with such views. We’ll also remove listings that graphically portray violence or victims of violence.” Graham declined to say whether Amazon has a vetting process to ensure hateful products are not sold on the platform in the first place.
In 2018, Amazon came under scrutiny from two watchdog organizations that published a joint report criticizing the retail giant for “weak and inadequately enforced policies” that allowed hate groups to use the platform to “generate revenue, propagate their ideas, and grow their movements.”