March 24, 2011
(JTA) — The owner of the Hitler’s Den pool hall in central India is refusing to change the name despite objections from the Israeli Embassy and a Jewish group.
« There is no way we will change the name, » owner Baljeet Ghosal told the Times of India. « We have been operating under this name since 2006 and now opened another one in Laxmi Nagar under the same banner. It is our identity. »
Ghosal told the newspaper that he was looking for a « different-sounding name. » He also told the newspaper that people in Nagpur are not aware of Hitler’s atrocities against the Jews.
« No one has raised any objection yet, » he told the Times of India.
The Israeli Embassy in India expressed its objection to the establishment’s name, and the Simon Wiesenthal Center in a statement called on Indian leaders to demand that the owner immediately change its name.
“We are shocked and dismayed by the continued promotion and use of Nazi symbols, icons and even Hitler’s ‘Mein Kampf’ by businesses and publishers,” said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Los Angeles-based center. « In 2011, in our global village, such behavior is unacceptable.
“Historically, anti-Semitism is alien to the people and culture of India, » the statement said. « Today, world Jewry is developing important relationships with many groups across India. It is our hope that leaders of India’s religious communities and civil society to take the lead in demanding an end to a trend that trivializes and mocks the victims of genocide.”