KFC Germany has apologized after a promotional notification was delivered to customers inviting them to commemorate Kristallnacht with cheese-covered crispy chicken.
In a follow-up email, the fast food chain attributed the mistake to a "system error."
Screenshots of the notification show that KFC began by announcing, "Memorial day for Kristallnacht," known as "Reichspogrommnacht" in Germany. They then invited customers to "treat yourself to more tender cheese with crispy chicken. Now at 'KFCheese!'"
Less than an hour later, KFC delivered another notification stating, in all caps, "SORRY, WE MADE A MISTAKE."
"Through a failure in the system, we sent an incorrect and inappropriate message via our app. We are very sorry, and will look over our system to ensure this doesn't happen again. Please excuse our mistake."
Despite their apology, customers were not happy, taking their displeasure public via Twitter.
"Wow, just wow!" one user wrote. "I am utterly speechless and repulsed!"
"Absolutely hideous," said another.
In a statement to CBS News, KFC explained that it uses a "semi-automated content creation process linked to calendars that include national observances," noting that its "internal review process was not properly followed."
"We understand and respect the gravity and history of this day, and remain committed to equity, inclusion and belonging for all," KFC added, noting that it had temporarily suspended its notification system until things can be sorted out.
Kristallnacht began on November 9, 1934. Over a 48-hour period, mobs across Germany and Austria destroyed hundreds of synagogues alongside thousands of Jewish-owned businesses, schools, and homes. In total, ninety-one Jews were murdered, with a further 30,000 men arrested and sent to concentration camps.
The incident is widely considered to mark the beginning of the Holocaust, and is commonly known as "the night of broken glass" due to the remnants of broken shop windows that littered the streets. It is commemorated in Germany every year on November 9 as part of the German government's attempt to ensure that the horrors of the Holocaust are never forgotten.
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