Bandung. A Nazi-themed cafe in Bandung that was first profiled in the Jakarta Globe earlier this week has been closed by its owner, apparently in the face of public outrage and international media scrutiny.
The Jakarta Globe observed that the Soldatenkaffee at the Paskal Hypersquare mall on Jalan Pasir Kaliki had been closed since Thursday.
On Friday, the establishment remained shuttered, while local and international news crews milled outside. Among the foreign correspondents spotted by the Globe were those from Radio Netherlands, the Associated Press and the European Pressphoto Agency.
Calls to the owner, Henry Mulyana, went unanswered.
The cafe, which opened in April 2011, has been the subject on intense online criticism since being profiled by the Globe recently, with commenters’ condemnation focused squarely at its Nazi-themed decor, including walls adorned with Nazi-related memorabilia and staff dressed in SS uniforms.
Speaking to the Globe earlier this week, Henry 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.”
On Wednesday, however, he said he objected to several points in the earlier article, including the mention of a fried rice dish on the menu called “Nazi goreng.”
He claimed there was no such dish served at his cafe, and also denied that the waiters wore SS uniforms. A photo on the cafe’s Facebook page shows otherwise, however.
“Those were only for the opening of the cafe,” Henry said in an email to the Globe.
He also took issue with a statement in the earlier article that he had claimed there was no proof that the Nazis were responsible for the Holocaust, the genocide of some six million Jews during World War II.
“I believe that the Holocaust happened, but the statement in the Jakarta Globe accuses me of firmly denying that the Holocaust occurred,” he said.
The closure of the cafe came after the Bandung administration said on Wednesday that it would launch an investigation to determine whether Henry had intended to incite hatred or racism by employing the Nazi theme at his cafe.
Bandung Police said on Friday that the decor did not violate any local ordinances, but recommended that Henry take down the Nazi insignia in the public interest.