Decorative posters are a quick fix for boosting the ambiance of your apartment or office space, but maybe you should check the context of the poster before you purchase it — or in this case, sell it. Walmart pulled a poster of Nazi concentration camp Dachau from its website over the weekend, having realized that, yes, selling a poster depicting an infamous death camp is pretty tasteless.
The poster in question featured an image of the entrance to Dachau, Germany's first concentration camp, which held political prisoners, Jewish prisoners and foreign nationals during World War II. The gates of Dachau feature the now-infamous slogan "Arbeit macht frei," a German phrase that translates to "work makes you free." It was a favored slogan of the Nazis.
The decorative concentration camp poster was sold online by one of Walmart's company marketplace sellers, and not directly by Walmart. However, the retail giant released an apology for featuring the poster on its website:
We were horrified to see that this item was on our site. We sincerely apologize, and worked quickly to remove it. The item was sold through a third-party seller on our marketplace. We have shared our disappointment with them and have learned they are removing the publisher of this item entirely from inventory.
It's still unclear why Walmart decided to list the poster on its website in the first place, considering that there seemed to be little confusion over what the image represented. According to DigiDay, the description for the poster on Walmart's website said it was taken at the Dachau Concentration Camp. The description also allegedly added: "[The poster] would make a great addition to your home or office."
Yeah — we're pretty horrified, too, Walmart.
But Walmart wasn't the only retail store to sell the Dachau poster. Sears reportedly had the decorative poster listed on its website, but also pulled it from its online store over the weekend. The original description for the Dachau poster read: "Generic gate with inscription Arbeit macht frei, Dachau Concentration Camp, Dachau ... Germany Poster Print." The poster was going for $74.44.
A Sears spokesperson told DigiDay: "The item, which was listed by an independent third-party on Sears Marketplace, violates our guidelines and was immediately removed."
Although Amazon.com also removed the Dachau poster from its Web store, the group Grandchildren of Holocaust Survivors said on Monday that the online retailer is still selling a commemorative poster depicting the Buchenwald Ovens at a German concentration camp in Weimar. However, it looks like that poster has since been taken down.
Amazon has yet to release a comment on these recent incidents. The online retailer continues to sell archival photos of concentration camp prisoners and barracks, as well as the remaining barbed wire surrounding the German death camps for the low price of $140.
Image: Alexandra Finkel; Jay Galvin/Flickr