[Updated at 11:16 p.m. on Wednesday, July 17, 2013]
Bandung. The Bandung administration has admitted that a local cafe that sprang to notoriety for its Nazi-themed decor is not violating any municipal statutes but can be brought up on broader charges of inciting racism.
Ayi Vivananda, the Bandung deputy mayor, said on Wednesday that his office was looking into the case of the Soldatenkaffee, whose walls are adorned with Nazi-related memorabilia and whose staff wear SS uniforms.
“We’re checking it out, but for now there’s no specific prohibition on displaying Nazi symbols,” he said.
But he added that those symbols were “internationally acknowledged to represent violence and racism,” and that racism was clearly prohibited under the state ideology.
However, in order to bring any racism charges against the cafe’s owner, Ayi said it would be necessary to first determine whether he had set out to deliberately incite racial hatred.
“We’ll call him in for questioning about his reason for putting up these symbols. What’s clear is that no one is allowed to incite hatred or racism,” Ayi said.
The cafe, on Bandung’s Jalan Pasar Kaliki, was set up in April 2011 by Henry Mulyana and features a prominent Nazi theme, including pictures of Adolf Hitler, swastika flags and waiters in SS uniforms.
Henry, who insists he does not idolize Hitler or subscribe to the Nazi ideology, told the Jakarta Globe that he had no objection to being questioned by municipal authorities.
In an interview earlier this week with the Globe, he said he knew early on that displaying Nazi symbols was going to spark some controversy, “but I decided to go for it because I don’t feel I’m violating any laws.”