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A New Zealand pizza chain pulled a billboard featuring Adolf Hitler from three of the country's largest cities on Thursday after the Jewish community lodged several complaints with the company and the New Zealand Advertising Standards Association.
The Hell's Pizza advertisement, featuring Hitler performing the Sieg Heil salute while holding a slice of pizza, seeks customers with the words, "It is possible to make people believe that heaven is hell."
The billboard refers to a well-known statement by the former German dictator: "By the skillful and sustained use of propaganda, one can make a people see even heaven as hell or an extremely wretched life as paradise."
The advertisement was "in bad taste" and "deeply offensive," the New Zealand Jewish Council wrote in a letter to the pizza firm.
"Many members of the Jewish community are Holocaust survivors and the depiction of Adolf Hitler, in a way in which seems to glorify him, is offensive and causes extreme distress to those people and to their families," the council wrote. "It is offensive both to the Jewish community and [to] all New Zealanders who have a horror and loathing of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi era."
The council called on Hell's Pizza to remove the billboards and to apologize.
"I think it is absolutely disgusting," a member of the New Zealand Jewish community who wished to remain anonymous told The Jerusalem Post yesterday. "It is very offensive to use the Hitler image in advertisements, especially those that deify him. It is highly inappropriate. Such images may conjure up certain undesired emotions from many groups of people."
This was not the first time Hitler-associated headlines have been made by New Zealand this year.
In April, a rock concert commemorating Hitler's birthday was held in the country's capital, Wellington, angering both Jews and anti-racist groups alike.