German supermarket chain promotes Holocaust memoir as 'relaxing holiday read'

The UK website for German supermarket chain Aldi called Holocaust book 'Schindler's Ark' "a gripping story that will have you hooked as your body soaks in those sun rays."

 Supermarket chain Aldi faced backlash after their website posted a listing for Holocaust book 'Schindler's Ark,' describing it as a "relaxing holiday read." (photo credit: PHIL NOBLE/REUTERS, Wikimedia Commons)
Supermarket chain Aldi faced backlash after their website posted a listing for Holocaust book 'Schindler's Ark,' describing it as a "relaxing holiday read."
(photo credit: PHIL NOBLE/REUTERS, Wikimedia Commons)

German Supermarket chain Aldi has come under fire in the UK after describing the Holocaust novel Schindler's Ark as a "relaxing holiday read" on their website, the Jewish Chronicle reported earlier this week.

Schindler's Ark, which is based on the true story of Oskar Schindler, who saved around 1,200 Jews during the Holocaust while a member of the Nazi Party, was described on the Aldi website as an "exciting, trending, and best-selling work of fiction" and "a gripping story that will have you hooked as your body soaks in those sun rays."

The 1982 novel, which won the prestigious Booker Prize for Fiction, was later adapted to become the award-winning Steven Spielberg film Schindler's List, which won seven Oscars, seven BAFTAs and three Golden Globe awards upon its release in 1993. 

Who was Oskar Schindler?

Schindler, a German industrialist who started the war as a spy for the intelligence division of the Nazi party, became sympathetic to the plight of the Polish Jews he employed in his Krakow-based factory at the start of the war. As time went on, he ensured that his factory could be made a safe haven for them, using the factory's status as an essential part of the war effort to continue employing them even as the Nazis emptied the city of its Jewish communities.

 Oskar Schindler and his grave, located on Jerusalem's Mount Zion. (credit: Wikimedia Commons) Oskar Schindler and his grave, located on Jerusalem's Mount Zion. (credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Ultimately, Schindler succeeded in saving 1,200 Jews throughout the Holocaust, and in return, Jewish organizations aided him financially when he fell on hard times in postwar Germany. In 1962 he and his wife were named Righteous Among the Nations by the State of Israel, and a tree was planted in his honor in Yad Vashem. Schindler died in 1974 and was buried in Jerusalem on Mount Zion, the only former member of the Nazi Party to ever be buried in Israel.

Aldi staying silent

Aldi's insensitive description of the book came to light after Antisemitism Policy Trust director Danny Stone took to Twitter on October 3, sharing a link to the listing and writing "Hey, @AldiUK, does anyone check your book descriptions before they're published? Do you think maybe a description of Schindler's Ark might feature some reference to the genocide of Jews which people are supposed to, apparently, 'relax and unwind' to?"

After receiving no response from the supermarket chain, which has over 950 UK locations, Stone followed up once more, this time tagging them and saying "you're replying to people about fish fingers and click and collect. Nothing about the inappropriate description of a book about the Holocaust. Care to respond?"

While Aldi did not respond to Stone's request on Twitter, the listing was quietly removed from the website shortly after and can no longer be purchased online.

"No courtesy of a reply but at least @AldiUK have recognized that there is an issue and acted upon it," Stone tweeted. "Hope the CEO will reply to my email."