Holocaust museum
Holocaust museumIsrael news photo: Flash 90

Jewish organizations have denounced an Estonian newspaper for publishing a mock ad for weight-loss pills depicting emaciated Jewish prisoners in a Nazi concentration camp.

Efraim Zuroff of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Jerusalem on Sunday called the ad, which appeared in the Eesti Ekspress weekly, a “perverted attempt at humor at the expense of the Nazis’ millions of victims.”

The incident shows Estonian society is experiencing “major problems with moral and ethical values,” said Alla Jakobson, spokeswoman for Estonia’s Jewish community.

Sulev Vedler, deputy editor of Eesti Ekspress, said the mock ad, which ran in the paper’s humor section, was poking fun at an Estonian gas company that recently used an image of Auschwitz to promote its services.

The GasTerm Eesti company published a photograph in August of the front gate of the Nazi death camp with the famous inscription "Arbeit macht frei," or "work makes you free." The caption read, "Gas heating -- flexible, convenient, and effective."

Following Jewish protests, the photo was removed from the site and an apology was posted.

Vedler further claimed the ad “was not targeted against Jewish people.”

In March, a Turkish cosmetics company similarly launched an advertising campaign for a men’s shampoo featuring Adolf Hitler.

The ad was removed following protests from Jewish communities worldwide.