In a case of really poor judgment, an Estonian newspaper published an ad for slimming pills, showing exhausted concentration camp torture victims to portray new, slim bodies.
On the image, published by Eesti Ekspress, a cynical inscription reads, “One, Two, Three… Dr Mengele slimming pills work wonders for you!” And underneath: “There were no thickset people in Buchenwald!”
The advertisement has caused outrage in the country, as it refers to the largest concentration camp in Germany during WWII. Dr Josef Mengele, known as the "Angel of Death", is infamous for performing human experiments on camp inmates, including children.
According to local media, Mihhail Kõlvart, Deputy-Mayor of Tallinn, was the first to voice his opinion, “Do you, the respected editors of Eesti Ekspress, happen to know that a total of 56,549 people were tormented at Buchenwald?”
“And that Dr Mengele staged monstrous experiments on Jews, by the way not in Buchenwald, but in Auschwitz? That he personally selected the arriving prisoners and personally sent over 40,000 people to gas chambers? Do you find it amusing?” he added.
The ad also appeared in Estonia's Postimees newspaper. Alla Yacobson, chairwoman of the Jewish Community of Estonia condemned the Holocaust jokes and “marketing catches” in the newspaper. She said, “The cynical jokes about the Holocaust illustrated by the photo of the concentration camp prisoners not only trespass the bounds of good taste, but are vivid evidence that our society experiences large problems with moral and ethical values.”
Alexander Dyukov, head of the Historical Memory Foundation, said, "Here, we are witnessing a clear misinterpretation of what Nazism and Auschwitz were."
"It would be naïve to hope to hear about Nazism from citizens of a country that glorifies SS veterans, namely, those fighting in Nazi ranks."
The famous sign at the entrance to Auschwitz concentration camp
Apparently this sort of thing has happened in Estonia before. A while ago the national gas company, GasTerm Eesti, used a photo of Auschwitz concentration camp to advertise its products.
On the image, the normal inscription, "Arbeit macht frei" (Work sets you free) was shown as well as the company’s caption "Gas heating – flexible, convenient, and effective."
This photo was later removed from the company's website after complaints were received and the company posted a short apology, “If a photo posted here earlier brought anyone any inconvenience we sincerely apologize.”
The Jewish community of Estonia has labeled both ads as a “Victorious march of immorality.”