A Taiwanese company has provoked an angry response because of an advertising campaign using large subway billboards featuring a cartoon figure of a smiling Adolf Hitler. The advertisements are for German-made electric space heaters.
Israeli and German culture and trade officials in Taipei said yesterday they were appalled by the ad.
The maker of the space heaters, DBK, based in the southwest German city of Kandel, said it would order an immediate halt to the campaign.
The ad shows Hitler in a khaki uniform and black jackboots, his right arm raised high in a Nazi salute. Above him is a slogan that says "Declare war on the cold front!"
There are no swastikas in the ad, but the Hitler figure wears a red arm band on his left arm with a white circle bearing the German manufacturer's name.
Shen Yu-shan (
"We decided to use Hitler because as soon as you see him, you think of Germany. It leaves a deep impression," said Shen, who works in the company's planning and design department.
Shen said the company had not been worried that the public would have a negative reaction to an ad that features a man who oversaw the killing of millions of Jews during World War II.
"Most people in Taiwan are not that sensitive about Hitler," she said.
Shen could not say whether the German firm had been informed about the contents of the ad.
"As always, we do our promotion planning independently and we report what we have done to DBK afterwards," she said in a press statement.
At DBK headquarters in Kandel, executive director Hans-Hermann Alfers said the company had first heard about the ad on Friday.
Alfers said the company's managers were not immediately sure who was behind the ad, but they will order an immediate stop to the campaign.
Uri Gutman of the Israel Economic and Cultural Office in Taipei said the advertisement was "unbelievable."
He feared using Hitler's image in such ads would make Nazi atrocities during World War II seem less real.
"It supports the denial of the Holocaust," said Gutman, referring to fringe theories that the Nazis did not kill Jews.
German officials in Taiwan also objected to the ad.
"We are not happy about this, this is not an appropriate way to make an advertisement," said Dr Hilmar Kaht, director general of the German Trade Office in Taipei , yesterday.
Kaht said while the intention of the ad is to tell consumers that the space heater is a German product, which he does not object to, he added that: "They should not use any political advertisement, especially not from Nazi times ... It creates a negative image of Germany and legitimizes the crimes of the Nazi regime by playing it down."
"Such an ad would be forbidden in Germany," Kaht said.
Patricia Kortmann of the German Cultural Center in Taipei was dismayed by the ad and doubted a German firm would approve it.
"It sounds too absurd to me that a German company would agree to such an advertising strategy," Kortmann said.
Johannes Goeth of the German Trade Office in Taipei also doubted that the manufacturer knew about the ad beforehand. He said the trade office faxed DBK a letter two weeks ago telling it about the ad but had yet to receive a reply.
Both Kortmann and Goeth said the advertisement didn't surprise them because they often encounter Taiwanese who admire Hitler and lack a deep understanding of European history.
"Taxi drivers will often tell me Hitler was a great man, very strong," Goeth said.
‘NOT AN INCH’: The president said after incursions by Chinese warplanes that there should be very smooth collaboration between the executive and military branches President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday said that Taiwan would not budge “an inch” on issues of sovereign territory and would stalwartly defend its democratic freedoms. Tsai made the remarks during an inspection of surface-to-air missiles at an air force base in Hualien. She was accompanied by National Security Council (NSC) Secretary-General Wellington Koo (顧立雄), Minister of National Defense Yen De-fa (嚴德發), Chief of the General Staff Huang Shu-kuang (黃曙光) and Republic of China Air Force Commander Hsiung Hou-chi (熊厚基). After attending a briefing, Tsai was given a demonstration of procedures for a missile launch. Tsai granted the base a one-time subsidy to boost troop
RIVERSIDE CAMP: As rescuers continued their search for a missing man, Taipower said that the floodgates at a hydro plant on the Lishi Creek opened due to a malfunction Three people have been confirmed dead and one was missing after being swept away by a flash flood while camping in Nantou County’s Renai Township (仁愛), police said yesterday. Six people from two families were camping near Lishi Creek (栗栖溪) when the riverbanks were suddenly flooded just after 4am, carrying away four of the campers — including two children — who were asleep in their tents, police said. A man who was among those swept away was able to climb ashore and call for help, police said, adding that another man had gone missing in the turmoil at the campsite.
ON THEIR OWN: The KMT has decided not to participate as a party at this year’s forum, and if any members do go, they would not be representing the party, Alicia Wang said The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday announced that it would not send a delegation “as a political party” to this year’s Straits Forum, after a Chinese TV program described the planned visit to the annual meeting as “suing for peace.” The 12th forum is scheduled to open in Xiamen, China, on Saturday. On Tuesday last week, the KMT announced that former legislative speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) would lead the party’s delegation to the forum, with KMT Secretary-General Lee Chien-lung (李乾龍) as deputy head. However, on Thursday last week, China Central Television’s (CCTV) Yangshipin (央視頻) program, hosted by Li Hong (李紅), included a headline
‘NO EQUILIBRIUM’: Taiwan’s increased defense spending is a good step, but it needs to do more to have the ability to deter aggression from China, a senior US official said The US plans to sell as many as seven major weapons systems — including mines, cruise missiles and drones — to Taiwan, four people familiar with the discussions said. Pursuing seven sales at once is a rare departure from years of precedent in which US military sales to Taiwan were spaced out and carefully calibrated to minimize tensions with Beijing. However, US President Donald Trump’s administration has this year become more aggressive with China, and the sales would land as relations between Beijing and Washington are at their lowest point in decades over accusations of spying, lingering trade tensions, disputes about the