A NEW restaurant in India’s financial hub, named after Adolf Hitler and promoted with posters featuring the Nazi leader and swastikas, has infuriated the country’s small Jewish community.
The owner of Hitler’s Cross, which opened last week, says he chose the name to stand out among hundreds of Mumbai eateries.
“We are not promoting Hitler. But we want to tell people we are different in the way he was different,” Punit Shablok said.
But India’s remaining Jews – most migrated to Israel and the West over the years – are outraged by the gimmick.
“This signifies a severe lack of awareness of the agony of millions of Jews caused by one man,” Jonathan Solomon, the chairman of the Indian Jewish Federation, said.
“We are going to stop this deification of Hitler.”
Posters featuring a red swastika carved in the name of the eatery line the road leading up to the restaurant.
A huge portrait of a stern-looking FÃ¼hrer greets visitors at the door and the interior is done out in the Nazi colours of red, white and black. The restaurant also has a lounge for smoking the exotic Indian water pipe or “hookah”.
“This place is not about wars or crimes, but where people come to relax and enjoy a meal,” Fatima Kabani, the restaurant manager, said, adding that more branches were planned in Mumbai.
The owner of the restaurant, Puneet Sabhlok told the BBC he was “very sorry” but he would not be changing the name of his restaurant.
Giant poster of Hitler outside the restaurant
The owner says a guest put up the poster
“My customers are not complaining about the name, they are very amused by it,” he said.
“Just like Hitler wanted to conquer the world, I want to conquer at least my area through the food served in my restaurant.”
Mr Sabhlok also said he was not promoting Hitler in any manner as he did not have any pictures of the German Nazi leader or decor related to him.
The cross in the restaurant’s name refers to the swastika that symbolised the Nazi regime.
The emblem has its roots in ancient Indian Hindu tradition and remains a sacred symbol for Hindus. Nazi theorists appropriated it to bolster their central hypothesis of the Aryan origins of the German people.