Redbubble, an online print-on-demand artists marketplace that was founded in Melbourne, has apologised for selling tote bags, mini-skirts and pillow cases printed with images of the Auschwitz Nazi concentration camp in Poland.
The global online marketplace for print-on-demand products based on user-submitted artwork was founded in Melbourne in 2006 but now also has a presence in Berlin and San Francisco.
The Auschwitz Museum notified Redbubble on Twitter yesterday about the items it had for sale and questioned whether it was acceptable to sell the products given Auschwitz was a place of enormous loss of life and tragedy for Jewish people.
“@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? This is rather disturbing and disrespectful,” the tweet from the Auschwitz Museum read.
Redbubble chief executive officer Barry Newstead responded and said he was appalled when he learned the items were available for sale on the site.
“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,” Newstead wrote in the statement.
“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,” Newstead said in a written apology.
“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.”
The items have been removed from Redbubble’s product offering.
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