An Estonian newspaper apologized on Monday for publishing a mock ad for weight-loss pills with a picture depicting emaciated prisoners at a Nazi concentration camp. The apology was rejected by Nazi Hunter Dr. Efraim Zuroff, of the Simon Wiesenthal Center.
Eesti Ekspress Deputy Editor-in-Chief Sulev Vedler wrote an official apology, which he sent to the press. In the letter, he wrote that the weekly "apologises to the people who were offended by this ironic joke."
Vedler confirmed the ad made fun of an Estonian gas company that used a photo of Auschwitz concentration camp in an ad on its website. "Using such photo seemed completely inappropriate to Eesti Ekspress," said the deputy editor-in-chief.
Dr. Efraim Zuroff, director if the Simon Wiesenthal Center's Israel office, who brought the mock ad to the media's attention, rejected the newspaper's apology. In a letter addressed to Vedler, Zudoff wrote: "frankly, I do not think that you understand the problem. The Holocaust is not a subject for satire, certainly not in a country in which local Nazi collaborators assisted the Nazis in mass murder and Waffen-SS veterans who fought side by side with the Nazis for a victory of the worst regime in human history, are considered freedom fighters and Estonian heroes."
The mock ad, which was published in the humor section "Kranaat" of Eesti Ekspress, pretended to advertise weight-loss pills while depicting Jews in concentration camps, with the caption "One, two, three – Dr. Mengele's weight-loss pills work wonders!" and "In Buchenwald, there were no stocky people."
It was intended to make fun of a genuine ad by the Estonian company GasTerm Eesti, who on August 23 published a photograph of the front gate of the Nazi camp Auschwitz, with a caption that reads: "Gas heating - flexible, convenient, and effective."
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