When a nightclub in Tauranga, New Zealand held a party last Thursday to celebrate ANZAC Day, they offered a variety of promotions to entice potential revelers, including free drinks for anyone in costume. But only one perk, a piñata shaped like Adolf Hitler and "filled with bar tabs and goodies," drew the attention of national media as well as the criticism of the German Embassy.
Anzac Day is Australia and New Zealand's equivalent to Memorial Day, held on the anniversary of the landing of their joint forces at Gallipoli during World War I. It is commemorated officially with a dawn service at war memorials across the island, according to the New Zealand government.
The ANZAC Day Party at the Bahama Hut nightclub exhorted Kiwis to come "celebrate what our troops did to protect our country!!," according to its Facebook page.
The same posting invited guests to "join in the fun and smash up our Hilter Piñata filled with bar tabs and goodies," and photos posted on the Bahama Hut Facebook page after the event show a crowd of clubbers excitedly dismantling the piñata.
This excitement was not shared by the German Embassy, which called the piñata insensitive. "Anzac Day is about thinking of those deceased and hurt in all wars, is that the right way of acknowledging that?" asked an embassy spokesman to Fairfax NZ News. The spokesman also expressed fears that the piñata "could be hurtful to the Jewish community."
In an interview with SunLive, Bahama Hut owner Tony Carraway defended his decision to smash the Hitler piñata, stating, “It’s not like he’s a well-respected leader or anything. Of all people to complain about I wouldn’t think Adolf Hitler would be high up on the list.”
“After killing millions upon millions of people it’s staggering the German Embassy would defend the name in any way shape or form,” added Carraway.
Interestingly, the decision to place Adolf Hitler's likeness on a piñata bears something in common with the piñata's original use in colonial Mexico. According to La Prensa, the piñata was brought to Mexico by Christian missionaries and was meant to represent the devil and his temptations, which were symbolically defeated by breaking the piñata.