Nazi ad a joke, Estonian weekly insists

2012-09-10 18:41

(Shutterstock)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Tallinn - An Estonian magazine insisted on Monday it had not meant to cause offence with a mock advertisement showing emaciated prisoners at a Nazi concentration camp, after sparking uproar from Jewish organisations.

"It was published on our jokes page. I think people living in other cultural environments than ours just don't understand it like we do," Sulev Vedler, deputy editor of Eesti Ekspress said.

He claimed the "Doctor Mengele weight-loss pill" ad was a swipe at national gas firm GasTerm Eesti, which last month posted a photo of the Auschwitz death camp's notorious "Arbeit Macht Frei" gate on its website.

GasTerm Eesti rapidly pulled the photo and apologised for what it claimed was a misplaced attempt to contrast lethal gas - which was used to kill Jews at Auschwitz - with the safe, home-heating variety.

Anti-fascist joke

"For us it was an anti-fascist joke and a reaction to the recent, improper advertisement of one Estonian company.

We didn't mean to have fun at the expense of any nationality, there is no nationality mentioned in the picture," Vedler said.

But by using the name of Mengele - a Nazi German doctor who experimented on inmates during World War II - Eesti Ekpress tapped a symbol of the horrors of the Holocaust.

The magazine, which has the second-highest weekly circulation in Estonia, has faced protests from Jewish groups.

"It is incomprehensible that a leading and ostensibly-respectable news weekly in a country which is a member in good standing in the European Union will publish such a perverted attempt at humour at the expense of the Nazis' millions of victims," Efraim Zuroff, director of the Jerusalem-based Simon Wiesenthal Center, said in a statement.

Estonia's Jewish community spokesperosn Alla Jakobson told the daily Postimees the country faced "major problems with moral and ethical values".

Sensitive history


The wartime history of Estonia, a nation of 1.3 million people, is highly sensitive.

Some here saw the Nazis as a lesser evil, after Germany drove out Soviet troops, who had seized the country in 1940 and deported thousands of Estonians to their deaths and did so again after the war.

But the Nazis brought their own terror, sometimes helped by local collaborators.

Estonia's pre-war Jewish population was 4 400. Most fled before the 1941 Nazi invasion, but the 1 000 who remained were killed.

The Nazis also sent up to 10 000 foreign Jews to camps in Estonia, where most died.

The Red Army drove out the Nazis in 1944. Estonia was ruled by Moscow until the Soviet bloc crumbled in 1991, and joined the EU in 2004.

Read more on:    estonia

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
2 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.