A MELBOURNE gifts retailer this week agreed to pull a candle and diffuser named after Anne Frank from sale, noting, “We had no intention to offend or exploit anyone.”
In their description of the product, Short Story said the candle, which burns for 60 hours, symbolised the Holocaust victim’s “global figure of courage and strength”.
Noting “her diary which documents her period in hiding has been the basis for several plays and films”, the listing adds, “Short Story brings back the intimacy and personal touch within their products.”
The company decided to withdraw the product after being contacted by Anti-Defamation Commission chairman Dvir Abramovich.
Stating the candle was “part of a range of historical figures who we admire and look up to. Each and every character that we have used were great examples of courage, strength and in positive light,” Short Story went on to say, “We do understand that this has been taken negatively as us exploiting the character for our monetary benefits but it was never our intention.
“After careful consideration, associated sensitivity and potential impact it may have on the Jewish community, we have decided to stop selling this product as of today.”
Welcoming the decision, Abramovich said, “We commend Short Story for their speedy action in removing this item for sale and for addressing our concerns.
“We received many complaints from those who felt that Short Story went too far, that commercialising and commodifying the Holocaust, regardless of the company’s intention, was grossly disrespectful and in poor taste.
“The fact the description notes that the candle burns for 60 hours elicited condemnation from those who noted that the corpses of Jews were burned in the crematoria. In my conversation with the company, I explained that the suffering and horrifying death of a 15-year-old girl at Bergen Belsen, her unique testimonial and life cannot be reduced to a few lines on a box, and should not be turned into a marketing tool and a product.”