German ad campaign cancelled over Nazi slogan

BERLIN Thu Jan 15, 2009 11:32am GMT

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BERLIN Jan 15 (Reuters) - Coffee company Tchibo and petrol station chain Esso have ended a joint advertising campaign across Germany that used a slogan similar to one which hung above the entrance to a Nazi concentration camp.

The campaign, which began in early January, used the expression "Jedem den Seinen", which can be translated as "to each his own" or "to each what he deserves", and is close to the slogan "Jedem das Seine" which hung at the entrance to the Buchenwald concentration camp.

About 56,000 people are estimated to have died in the Nazi-run camp and the campaign was denounced by Germany's leading Jewish organisation.

"Tchibo never meant to hurt anyone's feelings," company spokeswoman Angelika Scholz said. Both Tchibo and Esso said they had been unaware of the expression's historical significance.

The expression appeared on signs advertising coffee that were displayed at German petrol stations. The signs were taken down on Wednesday.

Salomon Korn, the vice president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany told the Frankfurter Rundschau newspaper that the campaign reflected either "unsurpassed tastelessness" or "total historical ignorance".

A host of ordinary German terms have been tainted by association with the Nazis. Late last year, German industrialist Klaus-Michael Kuehne was condemned for saying he wanted a "pure-bred" German solution for a shipping company that had attracted interest from Danish investors.

Leading conservative politician Christian Wulff was forced to apologise for using the term "pogrom atmosphere" to describe the public outcry over executive wages. (Writing by Anna Brooke)

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