web analytics
April 19, 2014 / 19 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance
Blogs
Sponsored Post
Spa 1.2 Combining Modern Living in Traditional Jerusalem

A unique and prestigious residential project in now being built in Mekor Haim Street in Jerusalem.



DEPT. OF BAD TASTE

‘Arbeit Macht Frei’ – in Detroit Packard Plant

No one knows if the sign is an ironic comment on the company's treatment of its employees.
Someone hung a sign that says "Arbeit Macht Frei" over a Packard Plant in Detroit.

Someone hung a sign that says "Arbeit Macht Frei" over a Packard Plant in Detroit.
Photo Credit: Yori Yanover, based on image by Niraj Warikoo/DFP

Share Button

Jewish groups are outraged over a sign hanging at the Packard Plant in Detroit imitating the infamous sign above the entrance to the Nazi death camp in Auschwitz. The sign, in the original German, promises “Arbeit Macht Frei”—”Work will make you Free.”

“This graffiti is offensive to Jews and particularly to Holocaust survivors,” Heidi Budaj, regional director of the Anti-Defamation League, told the Detroit Free Press.

Stephen Goldman, executive director of the Holocaust Memorial Center Zekelman Family Campus in Farmington Hills, said: “This message is offensive on so many levels. It … needs to be taken down.” He noted that many Holocaust survivors live in Michigan.

John Bologna, an attorney for the owner of the site, said on Monday the company was going to remove it, but as of Tuesday afternoon, the sign still there.

“I was distressed to hear of the” sign, Budaj told DFP. “The prominent display of this quote at a historic Detroit landmark is disturbing and deeply offensive to victims of the Holocaust and to those who fought valiantly in World War II.”

Niraj Warikoo, writing for DFP, noted that the style of the lettering in the Packard sign “has specific similarities to the Nazi sign at Auschwitz that made it unique: for example, the upper half of the letter ‘B’ in “Arbeit” (“Work”) is bigger than the lower half, just like it is in Auschwitz.”

No one knows who put up the sign and whether it is meant to be an ironic comment on the company’s treatment of its employees.

Regardless of the intent, Goldman said the sign is deeply offensive.

“As an artist, you should know better,” Goldman said. “I see no value to seeing this as a message, … That’s a poor image to use.”

Budaj said: “This message strikes at the very memory of a symbol representing the cruel cynicism of Nazism. This sign greeted more than one million prisoners as they were herded into the Auschwitz nightmare with the duplicitous message that ‘work sets you free.’”

“It’s a form of hate speech,” David Schulman, a Huntington Woods resident, told the Free Press on Monday.

The FBI in Detroit would not comment on whether it is investigating the sign as a hate crime.

It looks to me like this is an expression of a few Packard employees’ deep resentment toward Packard, which must be pretty heated if they went for such a harsh metaphor.

For future references, if you are an employee angry at your company, I recommend “Me ne frego” (“I don’t give a damn!”), which was the Italian Fascist movement’s slogan. It’s just as poignant if you’re a student of history, and it won’t upset the ADL.

Share Button

About the Author: Yori Yanover has been a working journalist since age 17, before he enlisted and worked for Ba'Machane Nachal. Since then he has worked for Israel Shelanu, the US supplement of Yedioth, JCN18.com, USAJewish.com, Lubavitch News Service, Arutz 7 (as DJ on the high seas), and the Grand Street News. He has published Dancing and Crying, a colorful and intimate portrait of the last two years in the life of the late Lubavitch Rebbe, (in Hebrew), and two fun books in English: The Cabalist's Daughter: A Novel of Practical Messianic Redemption, and How Would God REALLY Vote.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

Leave a comment (Select your commenting platform)

14 Responses to “‘Arbeit Macht Frei’ – in Detroit Packard Plant”

  1. It is impossible to know what was going through the minds of the makers of the sign. They assuredly saw the iconic picture posted on the Internet of the gates of Auswitz Concentration Camp. Many Gentiles have no idea how deeply it is burned into the Jewish soul as the antithesis of the words themselves. Perhaps it is their own way of protesting the behavior of the owners and management of the company. Until we know more, we should proceed with caution. We do not want to become the "nazis" who condemn on the basis of our own prejudices. The sign must come down, but the reasonoing of the perpetrators should be open to honest question before we condemn the individuals as racists or bigots.

  2. James Sorrell says:

    Disgruntled Packard employees? Do they understand that Packard went out of business in 1958? Can you see some 100+ y/o former Packard employee you there hanging these signs, if indeed any former Packard employees still live. Looks like young Neo-Nazi's to me!

  3. James Sorrell says:

    Disgruntled Packard employees? Do they understand that Packard went out of business in 1958? Can you see some 100+ y/o former Packard employee you there hanging these signs, if indeed any former Packard employees still live. Looks like young Neo-Nazi's to me!

  4. James Sorrell says:

    Disgruntled Packard employees? Do they understand that Packard went out of business in 1958? Can you see some 100+ y/o former Packard employee you there hanging these signs, if indeed any former Packard employees still live. Looks like young Neo-Nazi's to me!

  5. Vladimir Weissman says:

    Disgusting, for sure. It is unthinkable that the author, and those who allowed the "thing" to be hanged over the gate, did not know what it meant.
    FYI: Mussolini is known to have said "Chì se ne frega?" ("Who gives a damn?"). It was not a Fascist slogan, and it still very much in use in Italy. No parallel to the sinister "Arbeit macht frei", which is only connected to one thing: the NAZI HOLOCAUST.

  6. there is little to say about this abomination or the anti semitic scum who put up that "sign". beating their heads in with a brick might suffice. there is much to say, however, about the silence from the FBI.

  7. Alan Kardon says:

    Not only Jews who died in these camps. Every American should be offended. If people are not aware we should inform them. A sign should hang right under it that states 'NEVER AGAIN'.

  8. I agree that the appropriate sign to put under it is : "never again". Other than that, it was put up by ignorant youth who can't get a job. Maybe it was a protest against our decimated economy and not necessarily anti Semitic…

  9. It needs to come down NOW! Those responsible need to be fired! Not a single worker there faces extermination as the Jews suffered during the war! I'm sick this can go on in MY COUNTRY!

  10. Mona Boeger says:

    This is an abandoned auto plant in Detroit , no one has worked there for many years. Also, they should have reported that someone else went there this morning and tore it down since the city and the property owners didn't. All these articles are a little late to the party. I live in a suburb outside of Detroit and these articles are being posted after the sign has already been removed.

  11. James Sorrell says:

    Thank you for the update.

  12. James Sorrell says:

    Thank you for the update.

  13. I see this as hate speech, when made aware, but having grown up in an area where.
    we didn't have Jewish people around us, but I have seen liberals use this actual slogan during apartheid South Africa.

  14. Those words are very personal to me. My father was a Holocaust survivor. He lost his first wife and first son…the half brother I never knew…in Bergen Belsen.

    Just as disgusting is this https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1044511757366&set=a.1030112797401.2005964.1362789408&type=1&permPage=1.

    Facebook will not remove it.

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Loading Facebook Comments ...
Loading Disqus Comments ...
Current Top Story
FBI Wanted poster for Osama bin Laden
Pakistan Library Renamed to Honor bin Laden
Latest Blogs Stories
Baruch Mizrachi Funeral

When will the State of Israel decide the Palestinian Arabs are a hostile enemy and treat them as such?

Israeli troops guarding the northern border.

Like Hamas, Hezbollah also builds tunnels. Those tunnels pose a serious danger to IDF border patrols.

Firnas Hafzi, Egyptian journalist who luridly repeats Passover Blood Libel.

Visa has ads in an Egyptian magazine in which a story describes Jews as vampires. And worse.

Church of the Nativity, beseiged and desecrated by Arab Palestinian terrorists in the spring of 2002.

World Council of Churches expresses solidarity with “Palestinians” ‘languishing’ in Israeli prisons.

The Seder: We starve (during the sometimes endless recitations and discussions) and we feast.

The unique skills of people on the autistic spectrum adds great breadth to IDF intelligence work.

Passover is a road that we still travel, a long journey from slavery to freedom.

In Iran, 131 offenses are punishable by death, including blasphemy, adultery and homosexuality.

Women must eat Matzah on Pesach too but that is also a time bound positive commandment.

Pro-Israel leaders on campus are as important as the troops in the IDF and professional hasbaraniks.

The seder reminds us of our freedom now that we are home again in the land of the Nation of Israel

IDF helicopters are ready to act on a moment’s notice to defend the State of Israel.

The Samson Super Hercules aircraft ensures the IDF can safeguard Israel from far beyond her shores.

Rudoren and the Times are determined to go the extra mile to humanize Barghouti.

Gazans are among the principal victims of the terror-addicted Hamas Islamists.

More Articles from Yori Yanover
rain ATM

A Jerusalem woman is trying to hold on to her umbrella while withdrawing some cash at a Meah Shearim ATM, Sunday, March 9, 2014. The rain appeared out of the blue (which is how rain should), after a warm week that started to feel like summer. Well, it don’t feel like summer no more. Last […]

Rabbi Meir Mazuz (seen visiting a synagogue in Crown Heights, Brooklyn) declared in a public Internet psak that it is legal for a Jew to go up to temple Mount.

Needless to say, Shas, the Haredi Sefardi party, is not happy.

“The only difference between this world and the time of Meshiach is our bondage to the gentile kingdoms.”

Here’s the Israeli Navy boat INS Hanit arriving in Eilat on Saturday, March 8, 2014, after capturing the Klos C, which was carrying dozens of advanced Iranian-supplied weapons made in Syria and intended for Palestinian guerrillas in the Gaza Strip. Here’s Israeli Navy Commander Vice Admiral Ram Rotberg speaking with the INS Hanit soldiers in […]

Pat Condell has a new video out, so, sit back, have fun. By the way, Message to Offended Muslims should not be confused with Message to Off Handed Muslims. Also, I’d love to hear what he has to say about Haredim.

The description that came with this picture says: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks with American actor Bette Midler during an event at the house of Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan in Hollywood on March 6, 2014. But Bette Midler is not really an actor, she’s a singer who made movies for the LGBT community and […]

We will shut them up in the campuses, we will shut them up in the high schools, we will shut them up at the 92nd St. Y.

An Israeli female soldier (because they’re better at removing babies from their homes) evacuates a baby from a settlement in Judea and Samaria some time in the recent past. I’m thinking, if the baby was angry enough, couldn’t he evacuate in return, right there in her arms? Imagine the same picture, except with a settler […]

    Latest Poll

    Now that Kerry's "Peace Talks" are apparently over, are you...?







    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/yoris-news-clips/arbeit-macht-frei-in-detroit-packard-plant/2013/02/06/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: