Maximilian Kolbe merchandise under fire for insensitivity about Holocaust
Last month, Marie Elaine Quiray, the creator behind Blessed Friends Forever, an online retailer of Catholic children's items, posted a preview of her latest series of saint T-shirts, including a St. Maximilian Kolbe shirt that was half brown habit to represent Kolbe's Franciscan priesthood and half striped uniform with a red triangle, a replica of his Auschwitz prisoner garb, where Kolbe heroically gave his life for a Catholic father who was chosen for starvation.
Commenters on social media pleaded with Quiray to reconsider her design, while several other followers came to her defense, stating this shirt was their favorite design and they couldn't wait to order.
Within a day, all comments had been removed from the Blessed Friends Forever product launch previews, and an announcement was made saying that the shirt would be pulled from the shop. "This shirt was in NO way made to disrespect or promote the hideous actions that occurred during the Holocaust," said the announcement, noting that the saint is often depicted with his imprisonment jacket.
Aubrey Kemper, a Florida Catholic woman with Jewish heritage, was shocked by the dolls. "I have living Jewish family members whose parents remember escaping Europe in the nick of time," she told NCR. "I fear that kiddifying the atrocities of the Shoah will make it seem as though it was an anomaly — that it happened so far in the past that it could never happen again — even though I know that to be untrue."
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Tell us about your memory or experience of 9/11
In less than two weeks, we will recognize the 20th anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001, when four commercial airliners were hijacked mid-flight by al-Qaeda terrorists, colliding with the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, with one crashing in a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Almost 3,000 people were killed.
The U.S. launched its war on terror in response, officially ending it just days ago as President Joe Biden pulled all troops from Afghanistan.
The war on terror may be over, but the memory of that day will forever live on. We would like to hear your story — including how your faith may have helped you on Sept. 11, 2001, and after.
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