Authorities in Indonesia are concerned with the opening of a Nazi-themed café that has many tourists and locals alarmed, the Associated Press reported on Thursday.
Soldatenkaffee, located the West Java provincial capital of Bandung — a major tourist destination — boasts a red wall of Nazi fame, including a large portrait of Adolf Hitler and a swastika flag.
Though the café opened its doors as early as April 2011, a recent letter sent to the Bandung political establishment has spurred authorities to summon owner Henry Mulyana to explain his motives for opening such a contentious institution. The goal of the discussions will be to determine whether or not his intent was to push for racial hatred, the report added.
“Those symbols are internationally recognized to represent violence and racism,” Ayi Vivananda, deputy mayor of Bandung, told AP.
Mulyana denied any affiliation with Hitler or white supremacist beliefs, explaining that he hung Nazi memorabilia to attract potential foreign tourists into his business.
“I’m just a businessman, not a politician,” he said. “I have a right to design my restaurant with anything that attracts people to come. I’m sure that I’m not violating any laws.”
As for the offending images? For now, Mulyana said, they’re here to stay. “Let’s wait and see,” he told AP. “I don’t want the workers here to lose their jobs.”
Anne Cohen is the Forward’s deputy digital media editor. When she’s not looking for the secret Jewish history of Voodoo in New Orleans, or making lists about Ruth Bader Ginsburg, she writes for The Assimilator. She graduated from the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism with an M.S. magazine concentration in 2012.