March 08, 2000 18:51
A cafe called "The Third Reich" located at a popular university district near Yonsei, Ehwa Womans, Sogang, and Hong-ik universities, in Shinchon Seoul, tore down its Nazi flags and Hitler photographs Wednesday after the Chosun Ilbo reported that the Israeli Embassy and Jewish community people complained the cafe's interior decoration was insensitive to the former Nazi's anti-semitism, World War II and the Holocaust. The cafe said it is currently preparing different interior decoration. The district office in charge, Seodaemun-gu, said it requested the cafe to remove the Nazi flags and decorations upon receiving official notice from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade to take some action over the cafe as foreign press made unfavorable reports on the bar.
The Chosun Ilbo had reported that a cocktail bar called The Third Reich, representing the Hitler's era, in Shinchon was causing anger in Israel as the bar was decorated with Nazi badges, posters, and flags, and even had its waiters dress like the "Hitler Youth." The bar was on the 9th floor of a building and had two long Nazi flags hung in front of the elevator. It even placed plastic models of German Army tanks and planes that were used during the Second World War and served cocktails named "Adolf Hitler" and "Berlin."
A graduate school student of Yonsei University said he stopped by the place once, and although it may not matter to Koreans, he said he feared what the people who lost their families to the Nazi's would think were they to see the place. The 28-year-old owner said he received telephone calls complaining what would happen if foreigners saw the place ever since he opened the place a year ago, but added he was by no means worshiping Nazism. The owner explained most of the decorations were purchased in Japan. "It would be natural that I close the place if I really admired Nazism, but why should things matter when I just formed an atmosphere," the owner of the problematic bar stated.
The whole world got to know about the Shinchon bar as the Associated Press (AP) took a photograph of the place on Tuesday and distributed it to all media companies worldwide. Meanwhile, the Israeli Embassy said on Tuesday that after hearing about the bar, they expressed concern to the government that the cafe represented hostile behavior towards the Jewish people, and it promised to take suitable action. The embassy announced they thought the problem occurred due to the Korean people's unawareness of how sensitive the Third Empire's symbol is for European, Jewish and Israeli people.
(Chung Seong-jin, firstname.lastname@example.org)
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