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KFC apologizes after promotion tells Germans to mark Kristallnacht with crispy chicken

KFC is apologizing after a promoting a menu item as a way to commemorate Kristallnacht, the 1938 attacks by Nazis on Jews viewed by many as the start of the Holocaust. 

"It's memorial day for Kristallnacht! Treat yourself with more tender cheese on your crispy chicken. Now at KFCheese!," according to a translation from the BBC of a push notification sent on Wednesday to KFC app users in Germany. 

Soon after, three different screenshots of KFC's notification were posted on Twitter, drawing strong rebukes on social media.

"Absolutely hideous," tweeted Daniel Sugarman, director of public affairs for the Board of Deputies of British Jews. "Utterly speechless and repulsed," tweeted Arsen Ostrovsky, head of International Legal Forum, a pro-Israel legal organization.

Roughly an hour later, KFC followed with a retraction of sorts, with an all-caps alert saying: "SORRY, WE MADE A MISTAKE."

"Because of a system error, we sent an incorrect and inappropriate alert on our app," the message said. "We are very sorry, we will check our internal processes immediately so that this does not happen again. Please excuse this error."

Owned by Yum Brands, KFC told CBS MoneyWatch in an emailed statement that an automated push notification had been accidentally issued, containing an "unplanned, insensitive and unacceptable message."

The company said it uses a semi-automated content creation process linked to calendars that include national observances, and in this case, its "internal review process was not properly followed."

KFC has suspended app communications until it figures out how to make sure such an issue doesn't happen again, the company said, adding: "We understand and respect the gravity and history of this day, and remain committed to equity, inclusion and belonging for all."

Kristallnacht, also known as "The Night of Broken Glass," references the November 9 pogroms carried out by Nazis against Jewish people in Germany and Austria 84 years ago. Over 48 hours, mobs destroyed hundreds of synagogues and 7,500 Jewish-owned businesses, homes and schools, killing 91, according to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. Another 30,000 Jewish men were arrested and sent to concentration camps.

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