Travel firm sorry for fun emoji on Auschwitz post

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Travel firm sorry for fun emoji on Auschwitz post

Hays Travel reviews its social media policy after a post on Facebook advertising a visit to the former Nazi death camp uses inappropriate graphic

Jack Mendel is the Online Editor at the Jewish News.

Auschwitz's infamous gate, and Hays Travel's trivial facebook post advertising a visit (Facebook post via the Jewish Telegraph)
Auschwitz's infamous gate, and Hays Travel's trivial facebook post advertising a visit (Facebook post via the Jewish Telegraph)

A travel firm that used fun emojis to promote tours of Auschwitz has apologised and reviewed its social media policy.

Hays Travel’s Girvan Scotland branch shared a post on Facebook in May advertising a visit to Poland, which included a tour to the Auschwitz Memorial museum with a ‘star-struck’ emoji.

The Jewish Telegraph reported that many of Hays’ 450 branches were using similar light-hearted symbols to promote the tours, including ‘laughing’, ‘lightning bolts’ and ‘flames’.

More than 1.1 million people were murdered at the former Nazi death camp during the German occupation of Poland, the vast majority of whom were Jews

Hays Travel responded to Jewish News, saying: “We are very sorry that our Facebook posts have caused offence.   We use emojis to highlight special offers and extra good value holidays on Facebook, but we agree they are not appropriate placed adjacent to historic, culturally sensitive destinations.

“We have reviewed our social media policy and we will no longer use emojis to promote excursions to the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum.

“We have informed all our staff of the change to the policy and we are currently amending or removing active and recent posts.

“We have also revised our training and induction processes to ensure that our sales staff across our UK branches, head office and regions are aware and understand how to promote visits to this important destination appropriately.”

The Auschwitz Memorial and Museum said: “Talking about the Auschwitz Memorial Site-including in the context of tourism and social media, where less formal language is often used, including emoticons – it is important to remember to maintain respect for this special place and the tragedy of all the victims of the German camp.”

Hays Travel’s full post via the Jewish Telegraph
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