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World war waged on wax Hitlers and Nazi cafés

November 14, 2017 Headline News No Comments Email Email

An Indonesian museum last week became the latest to remove from display a wax effigy of Nazi leader Adolf Hitler, following public outrage over visitors taking selfies with the uniformed figure. 

In decades past, many wax museums around the world had a Hitler figure, standing alongside other historical characters, good and bad, celebrated and notorious. But that was in the days before mobile phones and selfies.

Madame Tussauds in London removed its waxwork historical figure of Adolf Hitler last year to stop an alarming craze among visitors for taking selfies next to the wax dummy, while making Nazi salutes. The wax Fuhrer has now been confined to the basement, out of sight.

An Indonesian museum, the De ARCA Statue Art Museum in the Javanese city of Jogjakarta, followed suit last week, removing its wax sculpture of Hitler after expressions of global outrage. The exhibit was popular with visitors, who took selfies with it. Many of the resulting photos hit the internet (see example below).

The problem: Young visitors pose for selfie salute with a waxwork Hitler, shown standing against a backdrop of Auschwitz concentration camp

The Indonesian version was particularly offensive as it depicted Hitler standing against a backdrop of the Auschwitz concentration camp, where the Nazis murdered more than a million people during World War II.

The Simon Wiesenthal Centre, a Los Angeles-based Jewish organization that campaigns against anti-Semitism, had condemned the wax figure as “disgusting” and demanded its removal, French news agency AFP reported.

Hitler stood between Star Wars’ Darth Vader and Indonesian leader Joko Widodo in the museum – but he stands there no more.

Jamie Misbah, the museum’s operational manager, confirmed at the weekend the Hitler figure had gone.

“We don’t want to attract outrage,” he said.

In Asia and China, where Hitler salutes and swastikas do not carry the same impact as in Europe or North America, Nazi-themed restaurants sometimes open. Indonesia and India have both seen examples, triggering international indignation. In January, Indonesian authorities shut down a Nazi-themed café in the western Javanese city of Bandung.

World War II killed about 72.5 million people, mainly in Russia and Europe. As well as military deaths, huge numbers of civilians died and many were murdered, including about six million Jews. Neither the survivors nor the families of victims see anything chic about Hitler.

Written by Peter Needham

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