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Mumbai's Hitler Cross renamed 'The Cross Cafe'

Associated Press

Posted: Aug 29, 2006 at 1408 hrs IST

A restaurant named Hitler's Cafe that enraged Jewish community has been re-christened The Cross Cafe, its owner said on Tuesday.

Puneet Sablok said the Nazi swastikas that adorned signs advertising the eatery and its menus would be removed, and the new name would appear on billboards and the menu later Tuesday.

The restaurant opened on Aug 18, quickly drawing the ire of Jewish community, who met with Sablok to demand the name be changed. There are about 5,500 Jews in India of which about 4,500 live in Mumbai.

"We are giving it a new name of The Cross Cafe and removing the swastika," said Sablok, whose restaurant is in Navi Mumbai.

"When I had a meeting with the Jewish people and they told me about how the name hurt them, I decided to change it," said Sablok.

"I never wanted to hurt anyone and do business," he said.

When the controversy first broke, Sablok said the name and the big picture of Adolf Hitler outside the restaurant were only meant to attract attention.

Sablok finally agreed to rename the restaurant last week, but did not immediately pick a new one. He said he had blocked out ‘Hitler’ from billboards during the transition.

Some Indians regard Hitler as just another historical figure and have little knowledge about the Holocaust, in which 6 million European Jews were systematically killed during World War II.

The swastika symbol, which was appropriated by the Nazis, was originally an ancient Hindu symbol and it is displayed all over India to bring luck.

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