Postcard from... Düsseldorf


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Christian Zurbrüggen has been so busy handling the flood of media enquiries that have been pouring into the headquarters of his Düsseldorf department-store chain that he has only just got round to writing to his Chinese-crockery supplier.

His letter is an attempt to explain just who this character “Adolf Hitler” actually was. It all began months ago when Mr Zurbrüggen’s buyers spotted some natty Chinese-made coffee mugs at a home-design trade fair. They had pictures of Goethe and Schiller on them and were deemed spot-on for the German market. He ordered 5,000 of them, and his store sold 175 in the space of a month before somebody spotted the awful mistake.

Instead of Goethe and Schiller, a faintly discernible bust of the Nazi leader decorated the mugs. Mr Zurbrüggen’s store has since been busily recalling all of the dreaded mugs. Customers decent enough to hand them in are being rewarded with ¤20  in credit.

However, so far, only a few have taken up the offer. Mr Zurbrüggen says that most  of the offending mugs have  now been destroyed. But there are still a few Hitler-mug owners out there who are hoping that their crockery is now worth a lot more than they paid for it.