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Indonesia’s Nazi-themed cafe is bumming everyone out

Jul 19, 2013

Soldatenkaffee is a charming little Nazi-themed cafe in West Java, Indonesia. Because who doesn’t want a little genocide with their tea and scone?

The cafe features memorabilia like Nazi flags and pictures of Hitler, and the wait staff dresses in SS uniforms.

Open since 2011, cafe owner Henry Mulyana insists he’s not a neo-Nazi or even a fan of Nazis—he just thought it would be a novel destination for Western tourists. Here’s a description from its website:

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.

Except Mulyana totally sounds like a Holocaust denier. “Controversy will always exist, depending on from what side we’re looking. The way I see it, the Nazis didn’t commit slaughter,” he told local paper Irrawady. “War is crime, so there will always be acts of murder in a war.”

He went further, saying “I’m not personally familiar with the [Nazi] ideology, but even if I was, I don’t think I’d find it completely disagreeable. For example, communism in Indonesia was prohibited, but it’s flourishing in China. Maybe it’s just a matter of politics.”

Saying you don’t find the Nazi ideology particularly troublesome sounds highly problematic. But there is precedent in other parts of the world for being highly under-informed on the facts of the Holocaust. In India, for instance, Hitler is in some places seen as a sort of folk hero for sticking it to the British, India’s former oppressor.

So who knows, maybe Mulyana just needs a little history lesson. If you asked him about the Indonesian genocide of 1965 he might not sound as chill about things.

Either way, the mayor of Bandung, where Soldatenkaffee is located, isn’t feeling the cafe. “Those symbols are internationally recognised to represent violence and racism,” he said, condemning the Nazi theme, according to Al Jazeera.

But either way, it sounds like the cafe is here to stay. “I’m just a businessman, not a politician,” Mulyana said. “I have a right to design my restaurant with anything that attracts people to come. I’m sure that I’m not violating any laws.”

So good news, in addition to getting your sieg heil on, when traveling in Indonesia you can continue buying Soldatenkaffee’s other specialty: The “3D Birthday Cake!”


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