This controversial ad was featured in The Eesti Ekspress, a popular daily Estonian newspaper. The Jerusalem Post reports that Jewish groups in the area were outraged and immediately demanded an apology.
“One, two, three: Dr. Mengele’s diet pills work miracles on you,” the ad read. Its slogan was “There were no fatties in Buchenwald.”
Sulev Vedler, editor-in-chief at the Eesti Ekspress, apologized and explained that the ad was posted in the satirical pages of the newspaper and was not meant to be taken seriously.
It was apparently a spoof at another controversial Estonian campaign in which the GasTerm Eesti company attached the slogan “Work makes you free” to a well-known picture of the Auschwitz concentration camp gate.
The ad had been pulled a month after being launched, in July, due to protests in the area. The GasTerm Eesti company is owned and run by the Estonian government.
Holocaust survivors in the region felt disrespected, believing the Mengele ad minimized their ordeal. They accuse the editors of having “major problems with moral and ethical values,” as well as supporting the Nazi regime.
Vedler’s apology didn't convince the local Jewish groups that this was a small matter.
“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 humor at the expense of the Nazis’ millions of victims,” Efraim Zuroff, director for the Simon Wiesenthal Center, explained.
Zuroff is convinced that this is another play in the game of hide-and-seek in which Baltic authorities try to hide their complicity in the World War II genocide.
Vedler maintains his position on the subject, dismissing Anti-Semitism accusations against the paper.
“We are not against Jewish people. We don’t hate Jews,” he said.