Hitler lookalike key rings cause outrage
Taipei - A Hitler lookalike appeared on key rings and magnets on sale at 7-Eleven stores in Taiwan, triggering a strong reaction on Monday from the de facto Israeli embassy, which said it was "appalled".
The items, seen at several 7-Eleven convenience stores in Taipei, sported an Adolf Hitler-style cartoon figure with a short black moustache, a brown jacket and a red-black-and-white symbol reminiscent of the Nazis' swastika banners.
"We were appalled to see the Hitler lookalike image being used, again, as marketing aid, and sold in Taiwan’s 7-Eleven stores," said Simona Halperin, representative of the Israel Economic and Cultural Office in Taipei.
"I find it tragic that once again, people [in] marketing and promotion fail to recognise the meaning of the dark age in human history the Nazi dictator represents."
She added that she was sure the images were the result of "ignorance" and did not reflect "support or identification with the atrocities committed during the Holocaust by the Nazis."
An official from President Chain Store Corp, which runs 7-Eleven in Taiwan, denied the images were meant to represent the German dictator.
"They don't look like Hitler. It's not a moustache, but a tooth," she said, referring to a black square in the middle of the figure's face.
An official at the German Institute Taipei, Germany's de facto embassy in Taiwan, expressed "regret that Nazi images are mistakenly used on some improper occasions".
East Asian pop culture and commercial art has a long history of fascination with Hitler and the Nazis.
Occasionally, Hitler turns up in Asian advertisement campaigns, and in the 1990s a pub called "Nazi Bar" was briefly in operation in Taipei.
In July the Israel Economic and Cultural Office in Taipei expressed shock when three local students were seen dressed in Nazi uniforms at a military-organised summer camp.
Neither Israel nor Germany have embassies in Taiwan, as China requires from all its diplomatic allies that they sever official ties with the island.