The world's largest online marketplace, eBay, has apologized for selling memorabilia from Holocaust death camps.
Among the scores of objects for sale recently were relics from the Holocaust: A striped uniform worn by a Polish Jewish concentration camp victim, tattered shoes, notorious Yellow Star of David armbands, a shabby suitcase and even a makeshift toothbrush.
The British newspaper Daily Mail launched an investigation into Ebay's practices. The paper called the Holocaust items "sick souvenirs."
The uniform was being hawked by Viktor Kempf, a Ukranian now living in Canada, for $17,000. He claimed that money was not his only incentive. "These periods in history are horrific, nobody should ever forget them," he told the Mail.
"It is outrageous, disgusting and disrespectful that Ebay sought to profit from the sale of artifacts related to the Nazis' murder of 6 million Jews," said Robert Singer, CEO of the World Jewish Congress. "The company did the right thing by removing the items and apologizing. Amazon.com, which profits from the sale of books denying the Holocaust and promoting anti-Semitism and white supremacy, should follow Ebay's example and remove those items. No one should profit from the sale of such vile and offensive hate literature."
EBay apologized, saying the items were being removed and that while it would donate funds to an "appropriate charity," AFP reported.
"We don't allow listings of this nature, and dedicate thousands of staff to policing our site and use the latest technology to detect items that shouldn't be for sale," eBay said in a statement. "We very much regret that we didn't live up to our own standards."
Ebay has long sold anti-Semitic collectibles
including postcards, posters and pamphlets that could be of interest to both proponents of race hatred and educators who use them to encourage tolerance.
Besides Holocaust-related memorabilia, eBay has also sold items under its Black Americana category
that African Americans could find offensive.
There are also posters that negatively portray Chinese people such as an 1886 propaganda poster showing Uncle Sam opposing the immigration of Asians to the United States.
Ebay apologized for any hurt feelings in connection with the Holocaust items explaining that some merchants managed to evade the company's vetting process. As a gesture of contrition, it will donate $40,000 to charity, a spokeswoman said.
She told the Mail that eBay dedicates a huge staff to police its site and uses state-of-the-art technology to detect items inappropriate for sale.
The company's founder, Pierre Omidyar, 46, who was born in France to Iranian immigrants, recently announced that he would be backing a radical journalism venture
with Glenn Greenwald, the left-wing writer who has been instrumental in making it possible for Edward Snowden to disseminate pilfered NSA secrets.
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