KFC has blamed its software setup for an app alert suggesting people in Germany mark the anniversary of Kristallnacht by adding cheese to their chicken purchase. The notice went out Wednesday, 84 years to the day after the atrocity also known as the Night of Broken Glass. An hour later, the company pulled the promo and apologized after drawing strongly worded denunciations, the BBC reports. KFC said its push notifications are automated and were "linked to calendars that include national observances," apparently unable to distinguish a difference between Oktoberfest and the anniversary of the beginning of the Holocaust.
The promo said: "It's memorial day for Kristallnacht! Treat yourself with more tender cheese on your crispy chicken. Now at KFCheese!" An official with the Jewish NGO Anti-Defamation League, tweeted in response: "How wrong can you get on Kristallnacht KFC Germany. Shame on you!" A spokesman for an organization of British Jews called the message "absolutely hideous." The company's apology agreed it was "insensitive and unacceptable," though the explanation didn't satisfy everyone. Social media experts in Germany were shocked that there was no human check on the alerts before they go out, per the Guardian.
The anniversary otherwise is treated with solemnity in Germany and includes memorial events and discussions about the Holocaust, in which 6 million Jews were executed. On Nov. 9, 1938, 92 Jews were killed as Nazi mobs destroyed their businesses and synagogues. Another 30,000 were sent to concentration camps that night, per Deutsche Welle. The company's apology assured that "we understand and respect the gravity and history of this day." (Read more Kristallnacht stories.)