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Saturday, August 25, 2012

Estonian gas company makes horrific Holocaust joke on homepage

"Gas heating - flexible, convenient, and efficient" is the caption

An Estonian natural gas company placed the above image and caption on its homepage, causing an uproar, according to Lenta.ru .

The Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Nazism and Stalinism, celebrated in Estonia on 23 August, was marked by scandal. On the website of the local gas company GasTerm  was a photograph of the Auschwitz concentration camp, together with a description of the benefits of gas central heating. The photo was later removed (the site  issued a brief comment with apologies)...

How long the scandalous picture was on the site is unknown.  
The photo of the gate to Auschwitz with the inscription "Arbeit macht frei" ("Work makes you free") was on the home page of the site The caption reads (translated from Estonian): "Gas heating - versatile, comfortable and efficient."

After the story hit the media, the picture has been removed. It was replaced by a conventional gas burner picture. The site added a short comment: "If the photo is posted here previously caused anyone discomfort, we sincerely apologize."

The story, however, does not end there. Journalists contacted the executive director of GasTerm, Sven Linrosom. From his comments the absurd sense of what is happening only intensified.

Normally, a company would probably try something hush up the scandal. They would declare, for example, the appearance of a controversial photograph was a mistake by the site administrator.

However, the executive director of GasTerm's comments to journalists only added fuel to the fire. First, he admitted that the picture was taken in person when he visited Auschwitz. Also confirmed that the company deliberately placed the photograph on the site (i.e,, the appearance of a controversial photo was not random).

Explaining the purpose for which it was made, Linros, reportedly referred to the fact that "the gas heating is often associated with the events of the Holocaust." "We often hear the joke about the fact that Hitler killed himself because he had received a bill for the gas," he added.
The Jewish communinty in Estonia condemned the company for its actions.

(h/t Vandoren)