Indonesian officials are investigating the Nazi/World War II-themed Soldatenkaffee that has sparked controversy in the city of Bandung. According to the AP, authorities sent owner Henry Mulyana a letter that asked whether "his objective was to incite racial hatred." The restaurant — which displays Nazi memorabilia and outfits its staff in SS uniforms — has been open since 2011 but objection to its theme reignited recently thanks to an article in the Jakarta Globe. Mulyana told the Globe, "I'm not personally familiar with the [Nazi] ideology, but even if I am, I don't think I'd find it completely disagreeable...Maybe it's just a matter of politics."
The cafe, which makes decorative cakes and serves something called German Nachos, has the following disclaimer on their website:
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.
The Globe piece explores the attitude towards racial sensitivities in Indonesia, writing "Despite the near-global recognition of the horror of the Holocaust, in Indonesia symbols associated with the event have been used in marketing, often with producers and consumers ignorant of the historical origins." This sort of thing doesn't just happen in Indonesia: recently, a KFC look-alike called Hitler was told to change its name by the American fast food chain.
Soldatenkaffee has temporarily closed pending the outcome of the investigation.
· Indonesia Questions Why Cafe Has Nazi-Themed Decor [AP]
· Bandung Cafe's Nazi-Kitsch Theme Sparks Some Uncomfortable Questions [Jakarta Globe]
· All Nazi Coverage on Eater [-E-]