A controversial Nazi-theme café in Indonesia – replete with swastikas, a portrait of Adolf Hitler, people dressed in Nazi uniforms and a mock interrogation room – has reopened less than a year after international outrage led to its closure.
SoldatenKaffee (The Soldiers’ Café), named after a popular WWII hangout for German soldiers in Paris, opened in 2011. It is located in the city of Bandung, the capital of West Java province and the third-largest city in Indonesia.
The café was shut down in July 2013 by its owner, Henry Mulyana, after media outlets, including the local Jakarta Globe, published articles on the café that sparked a global backlash.
Mulyana promised to reopen his notorious café soon with a broader World War II theme and to remove all the swastikas, his lawyer told AFP following the closure.
However, on Saturday, at the SoldatenKaffee reopening, all the Nazi symbols remained: the swastikas and propaganda posters with the Nazi symbols could be clearly seen in the café.
Mulyana did “broaden” the café’s theme, as the décor now includes some British, French, the US, Japanese and Dutch military items. He also posted the images of prominent leaders in WWII, such as British PM Winston Churchill and Soviet leader Joseph Stalin. Hitler’s portrait now hangs on the walls alongside theirs.
"From the beginning I have said that the SoldatenKaffee is not a Nazi cafe. This cafe's theme is World War II," Mulyana told AFP.
The spot was visited by several young people who were dressed in Nazi uniforms. One man was wearing a swastika on his arm, while others posed for photos in a mock interrogation room as prisoners.
Mulyana insisted, however, that "all aspects of the SoldatenKaffee are legal.”
He added: “We have a lot of customers from Europe and they don't have a problem with the World War II theme, because it is seen here from a historical perspective."
Indonesians are largely unaware of Nazism and not many Jews live in the country.
Promoting Nazi ideology, including symbols associated with Nazism, and denial of the Jewish Holocaust, are criminalized in many countries.