Arbeit Macht Deep-Fried

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The newest in Nazi chic: a restaurant in Mumbai, India, called "Hitler's Cross."

A huge poster of the
Nazi dictator, Adolf Hitler, adorned the inauguration function of the eating
house, much to the surprise of the invitees.

The signage at the
entrance also showed the Swastika encircled by the letter O in Cross. Bollywood
actor Murli Sharma, who was among the guests at the inauguration, told TOI "I found it amusing to see this
poster of Hitler at the restaurant."

When you consider how many restaurants are opening in India this week and how this is the only one anyone will talk about, sure, that's amusing. And you have to love this plug from the owners.

"We are not promoting Hitler. But we want to tell people we are different in the way he was different."

Indeed, all of the chefs are failed painters who secretly romance their cousins.

(Cross-posted at AS.com.)

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  1. Next they’ll be changing it back to Bombay.

    Arbitrary makes free.

  2. Heh, free expression rules.

    I’m sure such a restaurant would do well in some of the wealthier parts of Iraq…but (channeling Rick Barton for a moment) I wonder if the freedom-loving occupiers would allow it to take that name?

  3. Now this little hole in the wall in Mumbai has worldwide press attention. It must be incredibly good for business. I think its a great idea from a marketing perspective.

  4. If the glitterati flock to places with Che’s poster, why not a place with Adolph’s?

  5. Following up on Creech’s point, there was a trendy nightclub in Denver called “Mao” which had huge portraits of Mao Zedong and other communist memorabilia displayed in it. Given that Mao killed considerably more people than Hitler (albeit probably fewer on a per capita basis), I find it hard to argue against this new restaurant.

  6. The Soviet-chic stuff I’ve seen has all had a heavy lacquer of irony applied. The vibe is sort of a combination of Halloweenish dress-up and the display of war booty. How can a $12 martini in a hammer-n-sickle glass NOT be ironic?

    From the description, I really don’t get that vibe from Hitler’s Cross. Especially since India more-or-less allied itself with the Axis, while the United States was the enemy of the Soviets.

    Seems a bit of a reach to draw that comparison.

  7. India allied itself with the Axis?

    Wasn’t it controlled by the British during WWII??

  8. Any news on Mohammed brand restaurants? Maybe wearing a bomb hat?

  9. Lurker Kurt at August 22, 2006 11:21 AM

    joe’s probably referring to the fact that some prominent political figures in India spoke favorably about the Germans. Probably on the theory that they had a common enemy; ie the British.

    A far bigger problem for the British in India was open support for the Japanese (who were far more popular among the people of the far east than most people want to admit). While attempts at fomenting outright rebellion within India failed some Indians did join up to fight on the Japanese side elsewhere as the The Indian National Army.

  10. From the description, I really don’t get that vibe from Hitler’s Cross. Especially since India more-or-less allied itself with the Axis, while the United States was the enemy of the Soviets.

    That is all completely confused and wrong. The Soviets were on the side of the Allies during WW2. The soviets were not part of the “axis” and ww2 was not the cold war. Then theres the fact that India never took sides during the cold war (though they were implicitly with the soviets for sometime).
    Finally, there is the fact that India was controlled by Britain during WW2 and a number of Indians fought in the war alongside the Allies.

    Go read a fucking history book you moron.

  11. “But we want to tell people we are different in the way he was different”

    So, what are they putting in those ovens?

  12. balrog,

    Also, joe neglects to note that India allied with the USSR for a while after the Sino-Soviet split during the 1960s, mainly to get some help against Chinese invasion ambitions.

    Every now and then, I start thinking that we pick on joe too much here…then he makes a stupid comment like that one.

  13. “Gee, interesting interior design you’ve got in this restaurant. Say, what are those lamp shades made out of…?”

    balrog: Let’s not forget that Germany and the USSR teamed up to start WWII in 9/39, and fought together until 6/41.

  14. Do the appetizers include wienerschnitzel? What’s for dessert — does the menu have a cute heading titled “Battle of the Bulge”? So many jokes await.

  15. You guys are actually screwing up your criticism of joe. He was trying to contrast the relationship between India and Germany (whatever the hell it actually was) during WW2 vs. the relationship between the USA and the USSR during the Cold War, not during WW2.

    The giveaway is that he was talking about Soviet kitsch. It was the USA’s relationship with the USSR during the Cold War, not WW2, that makes that kitsch ironic or disturbing.

  16. Stevo,

    But joe seems to think that India’s putative “semi-alliance” with Nazi Germany during WW2 forever tarnishes any Nazi kitsch in India. By that logic the US alliance with the USSR during WW2 should forever tarnish any Stalinist kitsch in the US, regardless of whether they remained allies afterward.

    Of course, the big difference is that the US – USSR alliance actually existed, whereas 2.5 million Indians fought on the Allied side in WW2.

  17. Thank you, Isaac.

    Uh, yeah, balrog and crimethink, I’M the moron here. Pleae, read Isaac B and Stevo’s comments, and stop embarrassing yourselves.

    Also, that whooshing sensation on your scalp? Don’t worry about it.

    Freaking idiots.

  18. Lurker Kurt,

    To the extent that there was an India during World War Two, as opposed to a province in the British Empire, it consisted of the anti-colonial INdians. This resistance was enemy-of-my-enemy allies with the Axis in World War Two. In particular, they advocated the anti-(Western) imperialism (“Asia for the Asians”) that the Japanese used to defend their own imperialism.

    It’s not as though they were forming SS units, but they were certainly not anti-Axis the way that America was anti-Soviet.

  19. Not military allies, to be clear.

    India never contributed anything substantial to the Axis war effort.

  20. Uhh, as someone already mentioned, India sent 2.5 million men to serve in the British Army, the second largest contingent within the British Empire. It suffered nearly 179,000 casualties-not including the nearly 3 million killed due to the Bengal Famine. Hardly insubstantial.

  21. Oops, misread Axis for Allies. Sorry about that. Though reading the link about the man-made Bengal Famine might give some background on why many Indians were willing to fight with the Japanese.

  22. To get back on topic, a few days ago I saw a guy wearing a Che T-shirt underneath a Nike jacket. Was he being ironic, or was he just a clueless bum? (this was near a flophouse and the guy looked rather dishevelled)

  23. joe,

    Not military allies, to be clear.

    Oooooooohhhhhh, not military allies. So, what kind of allies were they?

    India never contributed anything substantial to the Axis war effort.

    That’s a weird way of saying that they contributed millions of troops to the Axis’ opponents. Of course, you dismiss those people and consider only gum-flapping, professional politician Brahmins such as Gandhi and Nehru to be the real India, in keeping with your elitist sensibilities.

  24. N’th attempt to post … praying to server squirrel God …

    “To the extent that there was an India during World War Two, as opposed to a province in the British Empire, it consisted of the anti-colonial INdians.”

    I see. Meanwhile, in messy real world India circa WW2, where joe & his ideological blinkers don’t get to decide who the “real” Indians are, it was all rather more complicated. Quick summary – most Indian leaders of significance were definitely opposed to Axis ideologies of fascism etc. In fact Gandhi & other INC leaders were supportive of Britain in WW1, hoping for Dominion status after. Since that didn’t happen, they were more wary at WW2, but definitely not pro-axis.

    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/India_during_World_War_II

    “It’s not as though they were forming SS units, but they were certainly not anti-Axis the way that America was anti-Soviet.”

    A slight understatement. Indian Army divisions and Medals including those awarded by princely states (which joe seems to be unaware of or more likely was told weren’t Indian coz they were imperialist fellow travellers or something) follow.

    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Indian_divisions_in_WWII
    users.skynet.be/hendrik/eng/39india.html

    “India never contributed anything substantial to the Axis war effort.”

    Also incorrect, making it 0 – 3.

    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Subhash_Chandra_Bose

  25. crimethink,
    “That’s a weird way of saying that they contributed millions of troops to the Axis’ opponents.”

    Take a looksee at this site and especially at the punjabi folk song at the very bottom of the page for the effects of the war on Indian’s – the people joe doesn’t seem to think exists.

    http://www.apnaorg.com/articles/amarjit/wwi/

  26. “So, what kind of allies were they?”

    Ideological allies with the Japanese, certainly. The Indian anti-colonial movement also tied down British forces afraid of pro-Japanese uprisings, and fought against them in Burma – whether this is better described as a military alliance or co-belligerents is debateable.

    SM,

    I am quite aware that Indians fought on the side of the British, just as Irishmen did. I’ve never suggested otherwise. At the same time, the indigineous political leadership, as opposed to that imposed or appointed by the British, were in both cases either neutral or friendly to the forces fighting the British.

    Which, getting back to the original point, puts a spin on Indian displays of fascist imagery. Especially since the government and political culture of India today is much more identified with the anti-colonial resistance than with the colonial govenrment of the British.

  27. “At the same time, the indigineous political leadership, as opposed to that imposed or appointed by the British, were in both cases either neutral or friendly to the forces fighting the British.”

    Can you actually believe or substantiate this nonsense ?
    It sounds like you have no understanding of Indian “indigineous political leadership” of the time or the politics of colonial India. I don’t have the time to explain it all to you but suffice to say the INC, the predecessor of today’s Congress & the most significant political force at the time was definitely not “friendly” (you gotta be kidding me !) with either the Germans or the Japanese. As I pointed out earlier, Gandhi et all were supportive of the Brits & by extension, the entente powers in WW1 & willing to negotiate terms for support in WW2. The INC were not arbitrary individuals – they are the “indigineous political leadership”.

  28. joe, while I understand what you are driving at I think you are exaggerating the level of sympathy held by the Indian independence movement’s political leaders for Britain’s enemies in WWII.

    And even Bose who did collaborate with both the Germans and the Japanese was outspoken in his disapproval of Hitler’s and Naziism’s mistreatment of Jews and totalitarianism. And this was at a time when nobody criticised Hitler in Germany.

    It would appear that both Nehru and Gandhi would’ve approved of the war if India had been granted independence in 1939. Neither one had any pro-German or pro-Japanese sentiments. While there have been question about how Gandhi felt about Japan he despised Naziism and Fasciism.

    But given that the Indian state at the time was the British Administration and the Indian princes both of whom were all out in favor of war with the Axis it is hardly accurate to say “India more-or-less allied itself with the Axis”.

    And as for the people at large, the 40,000 Indians who joined The Indian National Army is insignificant compared to the number who served in the Allied cause.

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