A website dedicated to selling face masks featuring images of the Holocaust has stopped selling the masks and said it would shut down on Aug. 11.
HolocaustFaceMasks.com, which had sold fewer than 10 masks as of July 29, had marketed masks emblasoned with famous pictures of the Holocaust. One showed a child with his hands raised at gunpoint and an image of crematoria at a concentration camp.
The site stopped selling the items apparently because of the backlash it received.
“We have removed items with the most complaints, and our other items will remain available until we close the website August 11,” its homepage said.
The message defends the intention behind the site and appears to implicitly criticise Jews who objected to it. The site’s founder told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency in July that he believes requiring face masks could lead to something like the Holocaust “or even more sinister.”
Antisemitism watchdogs have called such comparisons an unacceptable trivialisation of the Holocaust.
“Unfortunately and understandably, many had emotional reactions to the original designs and the concept behind them was not considered,” the message on the site reads. “The reaction to demand that people should not be able to express their opinion that tyranny is afoot, is troublesome. This reaction is especially troublesome when it is made by those who claim to have the strongest associations with one of the most tyrannical events in human history.”
Speaking to Jewish News last month, Jack Rosen, president of the American Jewish Congress, said: “Efforts to create false equivalences between an action designed to save lives and genocide are shocking, and profiting from them is disgraceful.”
He added “unfortunately, this is not a stand-alone incident. There is a troubling trend of evoking the Holocaust for making political points and, as we see in this case, to even make profit out of it. We must pushback against all these derogatory efforts that degrade the Holocaust and that deeply offend survivors, the memory of those who perished, and the Jewish community as a whole.”