Anger as British designer uses Auschwitz poison gas Zyklon-B for toothpaste company spoof

Online marketplace featured pillows, sweatshirts and mugs bearing a Zyklon-B logo that resembles an oral hygiene company


A British designer has generated anger in Germany for offering t-shirts, mugs and other items printed with the word "Zyklon B".

The items featuring the name of the chemical with which the Nazi regime murdered millions in its death camp gas chambers, including at Auschwitz, were being sold on the marketplace website Redbubble.

The products on sale, which carried a logo resembling that of oral hygiene firm Oral-B, included pillows, sweatshirts and other items of clothing.

Procter & Gamble , which owns Oral-B, said it was “very disappointed to see our brand logo being portrayed in this way”.

A spokesman said the use of its logo was unauthorised and that  the conglomerate was assessing its legal options.

Redbubble did not return the JC’s request for a comment, but ImperivmCloth’s pages on the website appeared to be offline this week.

The Berliner Zeitung, which first reported the story, noted the products were designed by British group ImperivmCloth with a logo resembling that of oral hygiene company Oral-B.

It is illegal in Germany to glorify Nazi slogans and to deny the Holocaust, but the use of such a slogan to sell items falls in a legal grey zone, as it can be considered art or satire.

The products were denounced by Karen Pollock, chief executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust.

“What possesses someone to think that it could be at all appropriate to promote Zyklon B — a poisonous, murderous gas — or views of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the former Nazi concentration and death camp where 1.1 million were murdered, as clothes to wear or cushions to display at home?" she said.

"It beggars belief.

“Whilst I’m glad that Redbubble have removed these items from sale, I’d strongly advise them to look at their procedures to prevent this sort of thing in the future.”

Redbubble's website specifically refers to itself as a sales platform for "awesome products designed by independent artists", but insists that purveyors must "bear the related responsibility, that your art and its publication on Redbubble do not violate applicable law."

There are currently more than 70,000 t-shirts on sale by various purveyors, including anti-Nazi designs.

The marketplace appears to have a reputation for pushing boundaries. It was pressured last month by Twitter critics to stop selling mini-skirts printed with Allah, the Arabic word for God.

The website also recently removed miniskirts and handbags printed with images of the Auschwitz death camp after staff at the memorial there called the items offensive.

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