“Hitler was a bad man, but what’s wrong with having food here?” That’s what Ashwini Phadnis has to ask Jews upset about the opening of a Hitler-themed restaurant in Kharghar, India near Bombay. More here. As Mike Crowley notes the guy at the end of one of these articles who says naming a restaurant “Hitler’s Cross” is just like naming a place “George Bush Footwear” seems to have lost the plot.
I’m surprised, though, that nobody seems to be making the analogy that actually is appropriate here — plenty of businesses operate on a Communism theme. When I lived in the Boston area, I used to go to People’s Republic in Central Square. When I’m in New York City I’ve been known to frequent KGB Bar and while I think it may have closed, Nikita on MacDougal Street was definitely more Nikita Khruschev than La Femme Nikita.
I don’t really understand why we have this particular convention in the West. If you actually went around singing Stalin’s praises people would be horrified. But Communist kitsch is fine. Nazi kitsch, however, is not. You can see why Indians might find this nonsensical and think that calling a spot Hitler’s Cross is no more an offensive endorsement of the Holocaust than calling a place KGB Bar is a pro-GULAG statement.