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.