Who would have thought that a cafe packed with Nazi memorabilia would make people incredibly angry? Henry Mulyana, that's who.
Back in 2011, the Indonesian businessman opened SoldatenKaffee ("Soldier’s Cafe"), a restaurant filled with Nazi emblazoned decor. After the English-language media recently discovered his cafe, Mulyana received death threats and temporarily closed the establishment. According to AFP, there are plans to reopen the eatery with Allied items too.
"So there won't only be photos of Hitler, but Winston Churchill and Indonesian heroes too. There will be Japanese soldiers, not only German soldiers, and no swastikas," Mulyana's lawyer is quoted as saying. There will still be photos of Hitler.
According to Mulyana, the cafe's theme is "World War II pop culture". At a press conference, Mulyana explained, "It's war-themed art that is neither an ideology, extremism nor racism."
The website goes further, stating (the blurb's copied over as-is):
Hitler & the Nazis in Pop Culture... Every Day! This WEB is not pro NAZI. It is matter of fact, with the intention of exploring Hitler & the NAZIS as pop culture Kaffee. The authors of the WEB are not NAZIS or neo-NAZIS, We are Indonesian with no political affiliations. The WEB & Kaffee are concept of World War 2 German and Collection.
We are Special Birthday Cake maker n Wedding Cake, We made by order who want a different thing from the other. Please dont be shy :) to contact US
Hey, Hitler and Nazis... everyday! Even more naive is the birthday cafe blurb right below it. The cakes tend to range from this:
It seems there have also been the inevitable Nazi-themed cakes:
The entire thing is completely self-unaware. You can read comments some Indonesian net users are apparently making, many of which also seem totally oblivious.
"Indonesians didn’t have a traumatic experience with Nazism," historian Zen Rachmat Sugito told Boreno Bulletin. "Nazism is a European taboo. There’s no Nazi-taboo in Indonesia, but it doesn’t mean we deny that the Holocaust happened."
This isn't only in Indonesia. In many countries throughout Asia, Nazi imagery pops up from time to time, with people seemingly unaware of the weight those symbols carry.
"I've received countless calls and death threats from locals and foreigners," Mulyana told AFP. "I feel traumatised and shocked."
Mulyana pointed out that he's never denied the Holocaust, nor has he ever denied proof of the atrocities committed during the war. He has, however, created a Nazi-themed restaurant.
Soldaten Kaffee [Facebook]