Walmart says it is terribly sorry for one of the items it was, until recently, selling on its web site: a wonderful motivational poster of a German concentration camp with the inscription, “Arbeit Macht Frei,” or, “Work Makes You Free.”
The item featured an inspiration image of a gate at Dachau, which held Jewish prisoners during World War II. The item was described as a “great addition to your home or office.” It was eventually removed following backlash from the internet community, but previously, the item sold for a whopping $52.25 (on sale).
The item was not sold at Target, Costco, nor Kmart, all of whom have the sense not to sell Nazi propaganda--but given the way Walmart treats its workers, it’s unsurprising that the big box store had no qualms with peddling this particular item (until they got caught). The item was also sold through Sears and Amazon, both of whom also pulled the item.
Walmart initially explained that they “have this product in stock because there are some customer[sic] who like to buy this type of item, but this doesn’t mean [Walmart] are supporting any ideology related to this item.”
As complaints rolled in, however, Walmart responded, “we have escalated this matter to our corporation so they can release the nazi related propaganda.” The item was quickly removed from Walmart’s online store, and the chain sent Heeb Magazine a statement explaining, “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 their inventory.”
Good going, Walmart. All it took was numerous complaints from concerned shoppers to change your mind. Now–why was it allowed to be sold in the first place?