Shorts: World

Pizza chain pulls Hitler billboard

A New Zealand pizza chain pulled a billboard featuring Adolf Hitler from three of the country’s largest cities last week after the Jewish community lodged several complaints with the company and the New Zealand Advertising Standards Association.

The Hell’s Pizza advertisement, featuring Hitler performing the “Sieg heil” salute while holding a slice of pizza, seeks customers with the words, “It is possible to make people believe that heaven is hell.”

The billboard refers to a well-known statement by the former German dictator: “By the skillful and sustained use of propaganda, one can make a people see even heaven as hell or an extremely wretched life as paradise.”

The advertisement was “in bad taste” and “deeply offensive,” the New Zealand Jewish Council wrote in a letter to the pizza firm. “I think it is absolutely disgusting,” said a member of the New Zealand Jewish community.

This was not the first time this year that Hitler-associated headlines made the news in New Zealand. In April, a rock concert commemorating Hitler’s birthday was held in Wellington, angering Jews and anti-racist groups. — jps

Nazi toys sell at auction

Nazi-era board games were sold at a memorabilia auction in London. German children played the games during World War II, winning points by destroying Allied cities and ships. The games sold for between $1,600 and $5,200 each at the Aug. 23 auction at Mullock’s auction house.

“We had propaganda in Britain during the war, too, but I have never found a comparable British toy that would glorify the idea of bombing German cities such as Dresden or Berlin,” said Richard Westwood-Brookes, an auctioneer and a historian.

The rare Nazi-era board games came from an unidentified collector in Germany who could not sell them there because of German law. The auction also included letters signed by Nazi leaders Hermann Goerring and Heinrich Himmler, an autograph of British WWII fascist leader Oswald Moseley and statements from Holocaust survivors. — jta

New right-wing attack alarms Germany

An Iraqi man was beaten by a suspected right-wing extremist in a former East German state, raising alarms about increasing violence among neo-Nazis in the area. The attack in Saxony Anhalt was one of several recent violent incidents involving neo-Nazis, and revived talk about banning the far-right National Democratic Party of Germany.

According to reports, the attacker verbally abused a 36-year-old Iraqi man who was waiting at a bus stop on Aug. 25. The perpetrator then returned and beat the man with a baseball bat and unleashed his dog on him. The victim suffered a head wound.

The incident took place one week after some 50 neo-Nazis rampaged during a summer festival in the town of Muegeln, in Saxony, seriously injuring several people of Indian background.

In another case, police arrested a 29-year-old suspect in an attack last weekend on two Africans in the town of Gunterblum in the former West German state of Hessen. — jta

Barclays removes suggestive eagle emblem

An eagle emblem has been removed from the building of one of Britain’s largest banks because of its Nazi connotations. Barclays removed the 3.5-ton eagle from atop its building, where it had stood for 30 years, amid reports that its new Dutch partner, ABN Amro, opposed the emblem.

The Barclays eagle predates the Nazi era by about 230 years, dating back to 1690 when its predecessor bank opened on Lombard Street in the city of London. The bankers said that the decision to remove the logo was because of “out-of-date branding.”

A poll in the town of Poole, where the eagle sat atop the building, showed 93 percent of the residents of the town wanted the emblem to remain. — jta

London faculty oppose Israel boycott

A survey found that staff from Imperial College London overwhelmingly oppose an academic boycott of Israel.

The survey, conducted by the University and College Union, the union that proposed the boycott earlier this year, found that 82 percent of Imperial College UCU members do not support a boycott of Israeli academic institutions. Imperial College is one of Britain’s premier scientific and medical institutions, with more than a dozen Nobel laureates in its 170-year history.

The survey also found that 90 percent of the college’s UCU members think there should be a national ballot of all members before UCU adopts any international boycott.

“In conjunction with the similar results from members at the University of Oxford and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, this clearly demonstrates that the vast majority of ordinary members of UCU are against a boycott and the damaging effects that this could have on British academia,” said Michael McGarvey, a molecular virology instructor. — jta