LA consulting firm using Birkenau photo on its website

Text under the photo of barbed wire and guard tower from Birkenau reads: “Great work is the only kind that’s okay with us."

Auschwitz-Birkenau 311 (photo credit: Reuters)
Auschwitz-Birkenau 311
(photo credit: Reuters)
KRAKOW – A US consulting firm that published a photo of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp in an advertisement aroused anger within the Auschwitz Museum management.
Econ One, a Los Angeles-based company, is using a photo from the death camp in its advertising.
The Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum is consulting with its lawyers after the litigation and business consulting firm posted on its website an image of barbed wire and a guard tower from the camp.
The picture, which was used to advertise the company’s services, was posted next to the title “Great is just better.” Text beside the slogan emphasizes how much the company appreciates good work and takes care of its clients and their needs.
“Great work is the only kind that’s okay with us. It takes management of the entire work process. Communicating with clients every step of the way.
Committing to a budget, then keeping expectations aligned with what’s really happening so there are no surprises. And efficiently staffing each case to keep costs down. Because when it comes to client service, okay... just isn’t. At least not for our clients,” the text reads.
Museum employees noticed the image on Friday.
Bartosz Bartyzel, a museum spokesman, did not hide his resentment and called the advertisement “disgusting and immoral.” In an interview with Polish daily Gazeta Wyborcza Bartyzel said the museum’s lawyers are checking whether to sue the American company for copyright infringement.
“The use of Birkenau, which among other things contained gas chambers, is disgusting and immoral,” he said. “Such kind of advertisement can only bring the worse possible image to the company which uses it.”
He added that it was not the first case that images from Auschwitz-Birkenau were used for advertisements.
Last year, an Estonian gas company used photos of Auschwitz to advertise its “cheap and not poisonous gas.” A few days later, following severe protests from Jewish organizations worldwide, the ad disappeared from the company’s website.
In January 2012, a gym in Dubai used an image from Auschwitz with the tag line “Kiss your calories goodbye.”
Wojciech Berger, a Krakowbased lawyer and a former Polish consul in Los Angeles, noticed Econ One’s image in a newsletter he received by email few days ago.
“When I opened the website of Econ One and saw the photo of Birkenau on their home page, I was speechless,” said Berger. “It is impossible to explain why a consulting company posts such an image on its website. It has no connection to the contents of its website.
I prefer to think that it was rather unintended and an unfortunate incident.”
Econ One is a large American consulting company that prepares economic reports and provides advisory services and legal aid. It has branches in seven US cities, including Washington and Los Angeles, but also in New Delhi.
JTA contributed to this report.