South Florida fair ride shares name with poison gas used in Holocaust

A carnival ride at this year's Broward County Fair shares a name with the poisonous gas used to kill millions in the Holocaust.

The ride is "The Zyklon." Zyklon B was the name of the lethal cyanide gas used at Nazi death camps.

But, the ride's owner said, that's definitely not what it's named for. Zyklon is German for cyclone.

Still, it's offending some in South Florida, home to the most Holocaust survivors in the nation, after New York City.

"I know it's so many years ago now, but I wish people would still care," said Mildred Blank, of Pembroke Pines. Her husband of 60 years, Paul Blank, was a Holocaust survivor. He died in May.

"I saw the name and recognized it immediately from the stories he told."

The name "Zyklon B" was printed on the metal canisters manufactured by a German company called Degesch.

"Of all the names in the world, why do they need to name rides that?" said Rita Hofrichter, a Holocaust survivor who works at the Holocaust Documentation and Education Center in Hollywood. "It's upsetting to me to come across that, as a survivor. I lost my whole family in the gas chambers, particularly in Auschwitz."

The German word has caused problems for businesses in America before. A company sought to trademark appliance names that used the word Zyklon in 2002, according to an Associated Press report at the time. The appliances included coffee machines and gas ovens.

The company quickly withdrew the application, the report said.

The Zyklon carnival ride at the Broward fair comes from Michigan-based Wade Shows.

The company's owner Frank Zaitshik said he inherited the name of his ride from the manufacturer, now-defunct Pinfari, which was based in Italy. There are probably hundreds of Pinfari Zyklons all over the country, Zaitshik said.

Zaitshik said he had heard this complaint before but assumed the cyanide gas that killed millions and the common ride name were not the same.

But recently, he looked it up and saw that the words were identical.

Now he said he plans to change the ride's name.

"There's actually no ill will intended to anyone of the Jewish faith, and I apologize if the name has offended anybody," he said.


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