Indian Jews Outraged After Local Company Labels Product 'NAZI'

New NAZI bedspread promoted with brochure showing swastikas; dealer says name 'has nothing to do with Hitler.'

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MUMBAI - India's small Jewish community is up in arms against an Indian home furnishing maker that has named its new line of bedspreads "NAZI" and used the swastika in its promotional brochure.

The furnishings dealer says the word "NAZI" stands for New Arrival Zone of India, but local Jewish leaders insisted the name rang of Adolf Hitler's anti-Semitic regime.

"We will ask him to stop this nonsense," Jonathan Solomon, head of Indian Jewish Federation told Reuters on Sunday. "We don't want Nazism to arrive in any zone in India or the world."

The NAZI-named bedspread is being sold at stores in India's financial capital Mumbai. The new product is promoted with a brochure that displays two red swastikas against a black background.

The brochure reads "Bed and Beyond presents the NAZI collection" with the expanded form of the word written in a very small font. The cover has a picture of two red cushions and a red bedspread.

"The name has nothing to do with Hitler," said the dealer, Kapil Kumar Todi, denying he had chosen the name for free publicity. "It's just an abbreviation."

But Indian Jews - only about 5,000 remain after most migrated to Israel and the West over the years - say they are outraged by the gimmick. Solomon said they would take legal recourse if Todi did not change the name.

Holocaust awareness in India is limited and Hitler is regarded by many as just another historical figure.

"What this says is there is a severe lack of awareness of what millions of Jews were subjected to by one man," said Solomon. "We will stop all attempts to rehabilitate Hitler in any form, anywhere."

The bedspread line is not yet on sale, but brochures were handed out in a mall in a northern Mumbai suburb, the Times of India newspaper reported Sunday.

Furnishing dealer Kapil Kumar Todi said he chose the name because "that's what came to my mind," according to the paper.

"It really does not matter to me who feels bad about it," he said.

Nazi ideas are largely rejected in India, but a rightist Hindu fringe deifies Hitler's rabid nationalism. In 2005, the western state of Gujarat, ruled by Hindu nationalists, introduced a high-school book that eulogised Hitler as a strong administrator.

Last year, a small restaurant in Mumbai was forced to change its name from "Hitler's Cross" to "Cross Cafe" after strong protests.

The eatery had its interior done in the Nazi colors of red, white and black, used red swastikas and a huge portrait of Hitler as promotional material.

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