‘Hitler’ no more: After uproar, Indian clothing store will change its name

Nadine Kalinauskas
Good News Writer
Daily Brew

After a global uproar, the co-owners of the "Hitler" clothing shop in western India have agreed to rename their store, the Associated Press reports.

Israel's consul general in Mumbai even asked state officials to intervene when the "Hitler" sign, complete with swastika inside the letter "I" was mounted above the store's entrance.

Co-owner Rajesh Shah claims he knew nothing of Hitler's history — people in Ahmadabad claim otherwise, saying the store name was a marketing gimmick — and that he named the shop after his business partner's disciplinarian grandfather whom the family referred to as "Hitler."

[ Related: 'Hitler' clothing store stirs anger in India ]

Manish Chandani, co-owner of the outlet, told the Times of India, "We have been hounded by various organizations from the city, state and nation ever since we opened. We have been unofficially told that the civic authorities will revoke permissions if we continue with the name. The matter has gone out of hand and we don't want to take any chance," he said of the decision to change the name.

"We have thinking of four or five names now, but we have also approached a consultancy," Mr. Shah said. "We want a name that is as powerful as the last one, but one that has a more positive association that negative."

"I am happy that the store owner decided to change the name. I guess he realised that it was not the right thing to do," Orna Sagive, consul general of Israel, told AFP.

Shah and Chandani aren't the only Indian business owners to try to profit from the Nazi dictator's name.

"The Ahmedabad store is one of a handful of Indian businesses named after the Nazi dictator. Owners seem to have picked the name more for shock value than an embrace of or admiration for Nazism," the New York Times reports, citing Hitler's Den, a pool parlour, as an example of the naming trend.

The pool hall owner claims the Hitler name is what helped make his business famous around town.

David Goldfarb, the spokesman for the Israeli Embassy, responded to the name of Hitler's Den in an interview with the Times of India last year:

"We can only assume that the owners of this new establishment are unaware of the horrendous meaning of the usage of Nazi themes and insignia for commercial gain."

In 2006, a Nazi-theme cafe called Hitler's Cross opened in Mumbai. After protests, the owner changed the name, which he had called "catchy," to the Cross Cafe.

And an Internet advertising company named Adolf Hitler Inc changed its name to AHI ADS last January in response to "public pressure."

"It is a perverse abuse of the history of the Holocaust to name a business after one of the world's most notorious mass murderers and anti-Semites," Abraham H. Foxman, ADL national director and Holocaust survivor, said in a statement last week.