'Hitler' clothing store stirs anger in Ahmedabad

Aug 30, 2012, 06:57 IST | Agencies

Owner says he'll change the shop's name only if he is compensated for re-branding costs

The owner of a clothing store said yesterday that he would only change its name from “Hitler” if he would be compensated for re-branding costs, amid a growing row.

The outlet, which sells Western wear for men, opened 10 days ago in Ahmedabad with “Hitler” written in big letters over the front and with a Nazi swastika as the dot on the ‘i’.

Unheard of? Rajesh Shah insists that until the store opened he did not know who Adolf Hitler was. Pic/AFP

“I will change it (the name) if people want to compensate me for the money we have spent — the logo, the hoarding, the business cards, the brand,” said Rajesh Shah. He put the total costs at about Rs 1.5 lakh.

Tribute to granddad?
Shah insisted that until the store opened he did not know who Adolf Hitler was and that Hitler was a nickname given to the grandfather of his store partner because “he was very strict”. He added, “I didn’t know how much the name would disturb people. It was only when the store opened I learnt Hitler had killed 60 lakh people.”

Members of Jewish community have condemned the store’s name, while a senior Israeli diplomat said the embassy would raise the matter “in the strongest possible way.”

“People use such names mostly out of ignorance,” said Israel’s Mumbai Consul General Orna Sagiv. Esther David, a prominent Indian writer in Ahmedabad who is Jewish, said she was “disturbed and distressed” by the shop, but added that some Indians used the word “Hitler” casually to describe autocratic people. David said Jewish residents had sought to change Shah’s mind about the store’s name and told him about the Holocaust.

The row evoked memories of a controversy six years ago when a Mumbai restaurant owner called his cafe “Hitler’s Cross” and put a swastika on the hoarding, claiming Hitler was a “catchy” name.

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