A group of about a dozen Jews from the Indian state of Gujarat visited the ‘Hitler’ men’s garment store on Sunday and urged its owner to change the shop’s name.
The owner of the shop, Rajeshbhai (Rajesh Shah) claimed innocence saying he was unaware that Hitler was the name of the ruthless Nazi dictator. "Hitler was a nickname given to my business partner Manish Chandani's grandfather because of his strict nature. Frankly, until the time we applied for the trademark permission, I had only heard that Hitler was a strict man. It was only recently that we read about Hitler on the Internet,” he said, according to The Times of India.
"We had put up a cloth banner for over a month saying 'Hitler opening shortly,' no one objected to the name then," he added. “We are willing to change the name if we are compensated for the board."
According to The Indian Express, however, the owner said he does not plan to change the name because he has “gone through a lot to get registration, licence and decorations."
"In the city of Mahatma Gandhi and non-violence, how can anyone celebrate a person like Hitler who is known to have murdered millions of unarmed ordinary civilians? We as a community had represented our concerns to the proprietors and we do not think they agree with us," said Nikitin Contractor of the Friends of Israel organization.
"Youngsters need to be told of the atrocities that Hitler committed and the millions who were killed in gas chambers more than 70 years ago," he added.
A member of the Jewish community, who visited the shop on Sunday, said, “The proprietors knew what the name meant and what Hitler stood for. They had researched well, right from the dress the dictator wore to his cufflinks. We had suggested a separate design, but the proprietors claimed that the name brings good business since its launch a week back," The Indian Times reported.
“He (Rajesh) said his concept was never to hurt the community, and he feigned ignorance about Hitler... But after we left, we began to believe that he may have been aware about all this and was just pretending to be ignorant,” said Menasseh Solomon, secretary of the Magen Abraham Synagogue, according to The Indian Express.