German store apologizes over Hitler coffee mugs from China

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Coffee cups with a small Hitler portrait are pictured in Bielefeld Germany, Thursday, April 10, 2014. A small German furniture chain says it inadvertently ordered several thousand of these coffee cups bearing a faint portrait of Adolf Hitler from China. Christian Zurbrueggen, co-owner of the Zurbrueggen chain, told German news agency dpa on Thursday that 175 of the offending cups were sold before customers pointed out the problem. Zurbrueggen said: “I want to take the cups out of circulation.” The remaining 4,825 cups have been destroyed and he says he’s offering a 20-euro (US dollar 27.60) voucher for the return of the others, sold for 1.99 euros each. AP/dpa, Oliver Krato

BERLIN – A German furniture store chain has apologized for selling coffee mugs featuring faint portraits of Adolf Hitler it had mistakenly ordered from a Chinese supplier, a news report said on Thursday.

The vintage-style ceramic cups feature a faint image of a Nazi-era postage stamp that shows a black-and-white profile of Hitler, postmarked with a swastika stamp, all obscured by other design elements including a rose and cursive script.

The Zurbrueggen furniture chain had ordered a batch of 5,000 of the mugs and had already sold at least 175 when the mistake was noticed, reported the Neue Westfaelische Zeitung daily from the state of North Rhine-Westphalia.

The owner blamed the “terrible” mistake on “a stupid chain of unfortunate circumstances” involving a Chinese designer who has mistakenly chosen the image of the Nazi leader, the news report said.

“No one noticed the problem during unpacking,” the store owner told the newspaper, adding that every customers who had bought a mug would be compensated with a 20-euro ($27) gift voucher.

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