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Hitler's face printed on 5,000 German coffee mugs

The Nazi dictator's image appeared on the cups sold at a furniture store following a manufacturing error

A German furniture store has apologised after it mistakenly sold coffee mugs bearing an image of Adolf Hitler.

The Nazi dictator appeared on the crockery following an error by a designer in China – and 175 of the €1.99 mugs were sold before staff noticed the unfortunate mess up.

The Bielefeld branch of the Zurbrüggen furniture store chain ordered 5,000 of the mugs, whose complex design featured Hitler’s face and a swastika, The Local reported, citing the Neue Westfälische newspaper.

Furniture chain boss Christian Zurbrüggen said the discovery was “dreadful” and apologized to those who bought the cups. He described the oversight to Neue Westfälische as “a pretty stupid series of unfortunate events”.

One woman who unwittingly purchased one of the mugs said she got a shock when she studied it in detail over breakfast.

Partially obscured by rose petals and an English love poem was a pale print of a 1930s postage stamp featuring the Führer. “I couldn't believe my eyes,” she told the newspaper.

It has since emerged that the Chinese designer responsible for the mistake did not realise whose portrait he was using. According to the furniture chain, no one raised the alarm at any stage during the process of exporting and importing the offending mugs.

“Nobody noticed anything when they were unpacking and sorting,” Zurbrüggen said.

He has vowed not to sell any more of the mugs and has offered anyone who returns one a €20 voucher.

They could be rehomed at the Haus der Geschichte museum in Bonn. A spokesman for the museum said they showed the complications of a globalised world.