French firm to change name of detergent reminiscent of Zyklon B

After outcry, IPC-SA says it was unaware of Holocaust connotations of using Cyclone B name

Cans of Zyklon B on display at Auschwitz. (photo credit: CC BY Jaysmark, Flickr)
Cans of Zyklon B on display at Auschwitz. (photo credit: CC BY Jaysmark, Flickr)

A French detergent maker said it will change the name of a product called Cyclone B following complaints that it is offensive to Holocaust victims.

“We are aware of the issue and are working to address it,” a spokeswoman for the firm IPC-SA from Brest in northwestern France told JTA on Monday.

She was referring to complaints that the product’s name was too reminiscent of the Zyklon B poison that the Nazis used to murder hundreds of thousands of Jews in gas chambers during the Holocaust.

The issue was brought to attention by Rabbi Menachem Margolin, director of the European Jewish Association, a Brussels-based lobby group promoting Jewish religious interests.

“It is horribly ignorant at best and a Guinness world record in evil cynicism if it turns out that the company knew of the horrible use that the Nazis made of the poison,” Margolin said.

The detergent was used in the European Union parliament, but EU officials ordered ties with the brand severed following complaints, according to the Jewish Chronicle.

Margolin added that IPC-SA officials told him the company was unaware of the name’s Holocaust-related connotation.

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