Want to know what's in Amazon's Home & Kitchen department? Well, they've got some shower curtains, some jewelry organizers, some nice vacuum cleaners ... oh, and Nazi flags. Lots and lots of Nazi flags.
A reader tipped us off to this particular product line — Amazon recommended the flags as possible additions to his yard. His interpretation: "Apparently Amazon recommends that my outdoor décor should include Nazi Flags. This was because I am a history teacher, and my recent Google search for pictures must have been picked up by Amazon and they tried to sell me stuff." A screenshot of the recommendations is at left.
But you don't have to wait for Amazon to recommend Third Reich memorabilia to you. You can search for it yourself, which I did, thereby ruining my own "suggested items" queue forever. At left are the top four hits, but I counted thirteen swastika flags on the first two pages alone.
Most appear to be sold by third-party vendors — several by Sportsworld, which conveniently offers several Confederate flags as well, including one with some deer and one with Hank Williams. Other items available through third parties on Amazon include a Nazi armband ("for theatrical purposes only"), an SS "Death Head" hat (expensive!), and a German Flying Eagle Neck Knife (complete with swastika). One Colonel Michael Osos PhD actually reviewed the Neck Knife: "This is very heavy around your neck, but I bought it for display...Well built for a made in China item. Fair detail, wish it came with a USA emblem! Or USAF emblem..." Apparently the swastika was this guy's third choice?
In its list of policies for third-party sellers, Amazon says it prohibits "offensive material," explaining, "Amazon reserves the right to determine the appropriateness of listings posted to our site." I've contacted them to see if Nazi flags qualify as "offensive," but I haven't yet received a response. Meanwhile, a blogger who recently noticed Nazi flags on Amazon UK observed that they were absent from eBay. Indeed, my search for Nazi flags on eBay turned up only postage stamps depicting said flags. I also couldn't find a Nazi armband, although there is an apparently real armband of the type Nazis forced Jews to wear, and a Dead Kennedys armband that says "Nazis Fuck Off." In fact, eBay actually has an extremely detailed policy governing Nazi memorabilia — stamps are allowed, Jewish armbands are restricted (they can't be shipped to certain European countries with strict hate-crime laws), and Nazi armbands and other materials with the swastika are outright banned. Given that eBay's been able to make these guidelines work with its large network of sellers, there's no reason Amazon couldn't do so as well.