7-Eleven stores in Taiwan pull Hitler lookalike items
These items were pulled from 7-Eleven stores in Taiwan after complaints about their resemblance to Adolf Hitler.
September 28th, 2011
01:33 PM ET

7-Eleven stores in Taiwan pull Hitler lookalike items

In Taiwan, 7-Eleven stores have pulled products featuring a cartoon vampire that bears a striking resemblance to Adolf Hitler after receiving complaints from the Israel Economic and Cultural Office in Taipei (ISECO) for selling the items, according to several media reports.

The convenience store chain, whose 4,400 Taiwanese locations are owned by the President Chain Store Corp., has suspended sales of the key chains, USB drives and magnets sporting the apparent caricature of the Nazi dictator. Company officials originally denied that the cartoon was meant to depict Hitler, first calling the black square on the figure’s face a tooth, then a nose, rather than a mustache. But on Wednesday, the company acknowledged that many saw the image as offensive and said that it did not intend to be insensitive by selling the items.

“Because there are people with doubts, we've stopped selling the products for now,” a representative from 7-Eleven told the German Press Agency, according to an Israeli newspaper.

The ISECO, which is Israel’s de facto embassy to Taiwan, since China does not allow its diplomatic allies to have official ties with the island, says that while it does not think the products were meant to be a show of support for anti-Semitic ideology, the cartoon figure does signify a lack of understanding of the Nazi party’s history.

“We were appalled to see the Hitler lookalike image being used, again, as a marketing aid and sold in Taiwan's 7-Eleven stores,” ISECO representative Simona Halperin said in a statement Tuesday. “I find it tragic that once again people down the chain of marketing and promotion fail to recognize the meaning of the Dark Age in human history that the Nazi dictator represents.”

Taiwan has a history of Nazi imagery popping up in public as a result of commercial use.

Outrage about Thai school's Nazi parade

In 1999, a local company used an image of Hitler to advertise space heaters made in Germany. Additionally, in 2000, a restaurant in Taipei called The Jail displayed images of Nazi concentration camps, while a bar in Taipei operated under the name “Nazi Bar” during the 1990s. Both businesses later removed the references.

The nation’s fascination with Nazi lore could stem from the fact that the party has become a symbol of courage because of poor education, which explains why an association created to explore Hitler’s achievements was able to garner interest from 1,000 people in 2005.

“They’re not anti-Semitic, just ignorant,” Lin Chong-pin, a professor of strategic studies at Tamkang University in Taiwan, told the Christian Science Monitor after a photo surfaced on the Ministry of National Defense’s website of three students wearing Nazi uniforms at a military summer camp. “They think the Nazi uniforms look spirited, that the high hat looks very heroic,” he said. “Reading and understanding of history is very poor.”

Products featuring the cartoon figure, which was designed by blogger Mark Lee, are sold in other Taiwanese stores as well, according to 7-Eleven. Lee says that while the figure’s appearance was inspired by Hitler, the cartoon was not meant to endorse any of Hitler’s views. In addition to depicting the dictator’s famous mustache, the caricature also wears a red armband and, in one version, has its arm raised in the fashion of the iconic Nazi salute.

“I had hoped to use it to satirize some bosses,” Lee told Agence France-Presse. “In the eyes of disgruntled employees, many bosses are greedy and dictatorial and like vampires trying to suck money from them.”

Representatives for 7-Eleven declined to disclose how many of Lee’s products were purchased during their short run on the store’s shelves. The items went on sale Sunday and sold for $15 each, according to the San Diego Jewish World.

Post by:
Filed under: Adolf Hitler • Taiwan
soundoff (238 Responses)
  1. Abe

    Too bad it does'nt look like Hitler. It looks like fat bald asian guy with black square nose.

    September 28, 2011 at 8:16 pm | Report abuse |
  2. justathought

    Why are the Jewish so uptight about Hitler? Hitler killed a lot more Christians than Jewish people up to 10,000,000 Nero crucefied millions of Christians. The Papacy murrdered 50,000,000 Christians durning the inqusitions. You don't see the Christians getting uptight with the Pope or the mention of Nero's name, or Hitler. I think it's time to get over it. (besides this goofy little thing didn't ressemble Hitler that much.

    September 28, 2011 at 9:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • ColdCut

      That being the case, then all Charlie Chaplin photos and caricatures should be banned as being Hitler look alikes ! How pathetic !

      September 29, 2011 at 1:50 am | Report abuse |
    • mortiz

      I could not agree more!!!!!!!

      September 29, 2011 at 2:17 am | Report abuse |
    • octopus

      Just learn a little bit of history pertaining to your question and you'll understand why.

      Also, when was the last time you saw a bar called "Holy Inquisition" which glorifies their ideology and methods?

      September 29, 2011 at 2:21 am | Report abuse |
    • solomon

      Well never mind pulling the item...it was a really STUPID idea to beging with!! That said, yes there were many more non Jews that were killed, but hitler in his deranged mind had a special focus on killing Jews. It is a little amazing though, just how aware Jewish groups are whenever anything pertaining to hitler or the nazis shows up. It would be nice if the Israeli govt was as sensitive to the inhuman treatment suffered by the Palestinians.

      September 29, 2011 at 3:42 am | Report abuse |
    • Scared

      "Nero crucefied millions of Christians."
      What a load of crap! There were not even "millions of Christians" at the time of Nero for him to crucify. Further, he did kill them simply because they were Christians, but because he needed a scape goat for the fire.

      September 29, 2011 at 3:57 am | Report abuse |
  3. Michael De Paulo

    I don't see much of a resemblance. I'm half Jewish and was raised in that culture. Showed it to some relatives (including my grandmother who was born in Germany, came here in the 20's and lost friends and family in the holocaust) and no one saw a resemblance. I don't know if some groups there had misappropriated the image and thereby discolored it in some way in the general society there, but if not, this seems like a BS claim. My mom even thought it was cute.

    September 28, 2011 at 10:09 pm | Report abuse |
  4. The Cannibal Troll

    Godwin's Law was broken before the comments even started.

    September 28, 2011 at 10:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lexxvs

      In fact it wasn't broken. It was applied even before anyone could comment.

      September 29, 2011 at 6:08 am | Report abuse |
  5. s kel

    dont get excited, its only the tea party advertising, like they did with the kkk ice cream store.

    September 28, 2011 at 11:10 pm | Report abuse |
  6. David Ashekenen

    Blogger Mark Lee, who designed of the recent Hitler items, admitted that while the figure’s appearance was inspired by Hitler, the cartoon was not meant to endorse any of Hitler’s views. In addition to depicting the dictator’s famous mustache, the caricature also wears a red dollar-sign armband and, in one version, has its arm raised in the fashion of the iconic Nazi salute. Lee told reporters that the doll was meant to represent a dictatorial angry boss, and the whole thing was a parody. He said he loves Israel and he loves the Jewish people, and he meant no harm at all. But now he has learned a lesson, at least on a personal level, and that's good.

    "I wanted to use it to satirize some bosses,” Lee told Agence France-Presse (AFP). “In the eyes of disgruntled employees, many bosses are greedy and dictatorial and like vampires trying to suck money from them. I was actually making fun of Hitler, mocking him. I know who he was, of course, he was a very evil man."

    September 28, 2011 at 11:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kynt

      Thanks for that. It's a bit sad when comments are better researched than the article itself.

      September 29, 2011 at 1:34 am | Report abuse |
  7. David Ashekenen

    To make a long story short, after the wire services ran a story about a convenience store chain in Taiwan selling cartoonish images modelled after what appeared to be a Hitler face and armband, although modified as a parody and not designed to promote Nazi thinking, the chain store's CEO decided to recall the items from all 4,500 stores nationwide. Game over.

    However, it took a few days of follow-up news reports from the Agence France-Press news agency, the Deutsche Press-Agentur German News agency, Taiwan's own Central News Agency, the Chinese-language Liberty Times and CNN for the recall to be finalized. But did anyone in Taiwan learn anything from this Hitler brouhaha? Probably not. Another Hitler cartoon or parody sighting will occur again, within the year, and always with the same naive and innocent intentions.

    There is no antisemitism in Taiwan; repeat: there is no antisemitism in Taiwan. But there is a lack of education in schools and in society at large about issues such as the Holocaust or the Nazi period in Europe. And the lack of education is not just about Jewish or Israeli history, it's also concerns ignorance about events taking place far away in Africa or Europe or South America.

    September 28, 2011 at 11:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • octopus

      yep, that's what the article is about.

      September 29, 2011 at 2:27 am | Report abuse |
    • Educated Person

      Right... you mean the same type of ignorance like those of typical Americans have about Taiwanese and Chinese history? Just because the Taiwanese didn't learn as much about the Holocaust doesn't mean they are ignorant. Why are people like you so self-centered they think their own history is of utmost importance that everyone else must learn about them? Look, the Holocaust was wrong but honestly, why should everyone in the world be an expert on that? I think that's ignorant to belief one's world is the center of the universe.

      September 29, 2011 at 2:58 am | Report abuse |
    • tom

      I believe they still *actual* Nazi replica paraphenalia in military surplus stores in Taiwan.

      It doesn't have the same meaning, just like Mao or Lenin or Genghis Khan don't have the same meaning in the West.

      September 29, 2011 at 3:23 am | Report abuse |
    • David Ashekenen

      Um, your headline is wrong. In fact, the complaints in Taiwan came from the German embassy first and then the Israeli embassy. RE: "Hitler lookalike Key-chains and Magnets sold in Taiwan 7-Eleven have Jews up in arms for removal".

      Should read "Hitler lookalike USB doll, Key-chains and Magnets sold in Taiwan 7-Elevens have German embassy and Israeli embassy up in arms for removal."

      And neither embassy asked for their removal at first. they just said it was in bad taste. But then a Taiwanese reporter asked the Israeli envoy if she felt the items should be sold in Taiwan and she said probably not such a good idea and that more Holocaust education needs to go on among Taiwanese youth. She never called for the items to be removed. It was the leading question by a Taiwanese reporter that led to that DPA story.

      And the comments here are really sick. Sadly your antisemitism here is more a reflection of your mental sickness inside your own soul than any reflection of who Jews really are. I blame it all on the New Testament gospels which start this global antisemitims off two thousand years ago., nice to see jerks like you still sick with this European disease.....it's okay, you will get over it one day....when you grow up....for now, enjoy your Jew hatred, it becomes you!

      September 29, 2011 at 7:01 am | Report abuse |
  8. Henry

    its not just the mustache its the red decal on his arm just like hitler they even made the $ look like the swatsika color wise it actually made my sub conscious think it was the swatsika.

    September 28, 2011 at 11:54 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Donald

    Oh, that's just hilarious. I want one! Collector's item for sure, get one while you can.

    September 29, 2011 at 12:50 am | Report abuse |
  10. MarKetING

    Leaving aside the anti-Semitic views, I think this was a marketing stunt.

    7-Eleven would have made ten or fifteen of these... made it a spin campaign.. give a press con, and end up making news inside CNN by spending couple of bucks.

    September 29, 2011 at 1:53 am | Report abuse |
  11. octopus

    >coldcuts: what's pathetic is your example.

    September 29, 2011 at 2:22 am | Report abuse |
  12. ytuque

    Not much of a resemblance

    September 29, 2011 at 4:00 am | Report abuse |
  13. Antje

    There are villages in USA where people have Swastika-flags hanging from their flagpoles. Also in US people think it is OK to use free speech for Nazi speak. Apparently the jewish bannishers are not so brave to fight US free speech and rather address smaller groups who are easier to impress.

    September 29, 2011 at 4:11 am | Report abuse |
  14. ophu

    Um, Hitler wasn't BALD. 😐 Just saying. It looks more like a vampire history professor.

    September 29, 2011 at 4:17 am | Report abuse |
  15. Reader

    As Mark Lee said the cartoon figure is just a symbol of those greedy and dictatorial bosses. In his blog, his doesn't admire Hitler or support for anti-Semitic ideology. If you can read chinese, you may click into the following link:
    You will know more about the blogger and the cartoon figure from here.
    Don't always judge things from the appearance.

    September 29, 2011 at 5:34 am | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10