Wal-Mart Still Selling Shirts with Nazi Emblem

On November 9 of last year, a writer who publishes the blog Bent Corner discovered that Wal-Mart was selling T-shirts with a Nazi emblem on it–the divisional insignia of the 3rd SS Division Totenkopf. That discovery led to a public apology by the company and a promise to remove all of the controversial shirts immediately. However, three months after that story caused a national stir, there are reports that the shirts are still available at some Wal-Mart stores.

Rep. Jan Schakowsky, an Illinois Democrat, and 21 Congressional colleagues sent a letter to Wal-Mart’s CEO, H. Lee Scott Jr., demanding that sale of the so-called “death head” logo be halted at once, according to the Chicago Tribune. The emblem is still used today by various neo-Nazis, especially because it isn’t as well-known.

Another blog site, The Consumerist, edited by Ben Popken, has been tracking the progress of Wal-Mart’s “recall” and has continued to find stores who are still carrying the item. (Although the product’s bar code has been deactivated, people have still been able to purchase it.) It’s likely that the action Congress has taken was sparked by the reporting at The Consumerist.

“Everyone agreed that these shirts have to go, including Wal-Mart; it’s just that they didn’t do anything about it,” Schakowsky told the Tribune. “Either at the time they really weren’t serious, or their capacity to do that is limited, which makes one wonder about recalls of potentially dangerous products.”

In her letter to Scott, Rep. Schakowsky wrote, “We were pleased to learn … that Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. had agreed to immediately remove T-shirts from its shelves that display the insignia of Nazi Germany’s 3rd SS Division Totenkopf. As your spokesman David Tovar acknowledged last year, ‘We would never have placed this T-shirt on our shelves had we known the origin and significance of this emblem.’

“Unfortunately, reports this week suggest that the product remains on your retailer’s shelves. We are gravely dismayed about Wal-Mart’s inaction on its pledge to remove this product from its stores, and we ask that you take immediate steps to comply with last November’s commitment to remove this offensive merchandise from your shelves.”

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