Thailand Hitler billboard draws controversy

A Hitler billboard in Thailand promoting a local wax museum has locals and foreign governments up in arms. The billboard campaign, which features photos of famous dead people, included a photo of Hitler making the infamous Nazi salute along with the tagline “Hitler is not dead.” The ad was part of a promotion for Louis Tussaud’s Waxworks, a wax museum based in Pattaya.

Since the billboard’s unveiling two weeks ago it has caused a firestorm of complaints, prompting museum officials to have it covered and to apologize for the offense. Both the German and Israeli embassies in Thailand filed formal complaints. Wax museum director Somporn Naksuetrong has emphasized the campaign was not meant to glorify the Nazi leader.

Not surprisingly, this isn’t the first Adolf Hitler wax museum incident to draw controversy. In 2008 a German man rushed into the new Madame Tussaud’s in Berlin, ripping the head off the museum’s Hitler figurine and shouting “Never war again!”

The use of Hitler’s likeness, whether as a wax dummy or in advertising, never fails to attract criticism. But that hasn’t stopped museums and brands from capitalizing on Hitler to draw attention, a decision that almost always ends poorly. Anyone hoping to draw tourist dollars from Nazi imagery in the future would do well to keep this in mind.


Man who ripped head off of wax Hitler fined $1,200

Last year I wrote about the ill-fated Adolf Hitler exhibit at Berlin’s just-opened Madame Tussauds museum.

A man obviously unhappy with the museum’s decision to have a wax likeness of the 20th Century’s most evil leader waited patiently in line on opening day before rushing, tackling the wax Hitler and ripping off its head — all the time shouting, “Never again!” Several security guards were also injured in the fracas.

So, how much will Germany fine you if you decapitate Hitler?

The man known in the local media here only as “Frank L” was in court today, where he was given a suspended sentence and fined 900 euros, or roughly $1,200.

Was he sorry? No. He told the court that he’d do it again.

As for the Hitler statue, it is back at Madame Tussauds, in a more secure location.

Madame Tussauds: Adolf Hitler to return to Berlin soon

Madame Tussauds, the world’s most overpriced, not to say overrated, tourist attraction, is bucking popular sentiment in Germany and elsewhere by vowing to return a wax statue of Adolf Hitler to its newest museum in Berlin as soon as possible.

I posted last week about a protester who managed to rip the head off the wax statue just minutes after Madame Tussauds officially opened to the public last Saturday.

The museum tells German media that it is working quick to reattach the head, after which it will return the statue to its place in the museum, a display that showed a replica of Hitler’s underground Berlin bunker during the final days of WWII.

“Despite the incident, Madame Tussauds will again show the wax figure of Adolf Hitler in the exhibition. Madame Tussauds is apolitical and neither comments on nor judges the people shown in the exhibition or what they did in the course of their life,” the museum tells the German news magazine Der Spiegel.

The Hitler statue has generated controversy since the museum announced its initial inclusion in the Berlin museum, alongside the likes of other German speaking notables like Boris Becker, Angela Merkel and Albert Einstein.

Not only is it in bad taste to immortalize the architect of millions of deaths in wax, protesters say, but the very location of the museum on Berlin’s posh Unter den Linden, near the Brandenburg Gate, means that the small Hitler exhibit is a stone’s throw from Berlin’s three-year-old Memorial to the Murder Jews of Europe, a massive sea of gray stone less than a two block walk away.

The Hitler display at Tussauds cost about $300,000. No word yet whether the museum is planning heightened security around it when it returns.

Originally the statue was to be positioned next to a wax likeness of Winston Churchill. However, the museum decided to isolate the Hitler statue in a different area of the museum, behind both a desk and a set of ropes to keep neo Nazis from posing for pictures next to it.

Adolf Hitler beheaded! Chaos breaks out at the grand opening of Madame Tussauds’ newest museum in Berlin

A German man waited patiently in line yesterday for the grand opening of Madame Tussauds’ latest museum in Berlin. He was the second person in the building. What did he do?

He promptly ran to the wax statue of Adolf Hitler on display and ripped off his head, shouting three times as he did, “Never war again!”

Germany’s national tabloid Bild has the whole story today (sorry, it’s in German), and it’s pretty funny.

A man authorities are only calling “Frank L.”, from the Berlin neighborhood of Kruezberg (where I live!) tussled with and injured several security guards on his way to bringing down the Hitler display. Witnesses say he was fanatical and determined.

His girlfriend, who was there, said only, “I am proud of what he did. He was really angry for days about this display. He is a quiet, loving person.”

Police arrested Frank and questioned him, but eventually let him go. He told police that he simply objected to the proximity of the Hitler display to the city’s Jewish museum (though, in reality, they are not that close: Tussauds is near the Brandenburg Gate, while the Jewish museum is more than a 30 minute walk away).

The Hitler display at Madame Tussauds has been a subject of controversy in Germany for months, with most concluding that the man who wreaked havoc on a good chunk of the world does not deserve to be immortalized in wax for deep-pocketed tourists to gawk at. In many ways, the controversy is not such a surprise in a country that still takes all matters relating to WWII seriously and that has officially outlawed naming boys Adolf.

Predictably, the German press today mocked the attack. On its German Web site, the major news magazine Der Spiegel said, “Finally a Hitler assassination that worked!”

The Hitler display at Tussauds cost about $300,000 and right now museum officials are debating whether to replace the display, which originally depicted Hitler at work at his desk.

Reaction today among museum goers was mixed.

Bild quotes one tourist from the German city of Mannheim saying, “Hitler belongs to our history. That’s why I would have liked to see him.”

Another tourist says bluntly, in a nod to Germany’s past greatness in tennis, “Hitler? I want to see Boris Becker!”