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Hitler coffee cream pot company faces closure

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Hitler and Mussolini featured on the creamer lids. Photo: SRF
10:12 CEST+02:00
The company that designed the coffee cream pot lids featuring images of Hitler and Mussolini is facing bankruptcy after Swiss supermarket chain Migros said it planned to terminate its contract with the Bern-based outfit.

Karo Versand designs and prints creamer lids which are attached to mini cream pots produced by Migros subsidiary ELSA.

The company, which employs four people, is the only one in Switzerland to keep a record of the limited edition creamer lids which have a cult following among collectors.

The offending series of 55 designs based on vintage cigar wrappers was destined for these collectors only, but some pots ended up being distributed to around 100 restaurants and cafés in German-speaking Switzerland, provoking shock among coffee drinkers.

Migros subsequently recalled the pots and ended its contract with Karo Versand.

Speaking to newspaper 20 Minutes on Thursday, Peter Wälchli, director of Karo Versand, said: “If Migros really does decide to put an end to our contract, that will be the end of a traditional Swiss hobby.”

Collectors have been calling him concerned about the future of the company – and therefore their hobby – ever since the designs made international headlines earlier this week, he said.

“Every five minutes worried people call me,” Wälchli told 20 Minutes.

“We are the only company in Switzerland to keep a record of these cream pots. If we can no longer do it then 5,000 people will have to find another hobby because they will no longer know if a series is complete or not.”

On Wednesday Migros apologized for the distribution of the pots, blaming it on a breakdown of internal control procedures within ELSA.

Migros spokesperson Trisan Cerf told 20 Minutes that after producing the cream pots, most are returned to Karo Versand to sell on to collectors, but that any surplus is distributed to restaurants and cafes to prevent waste.

“This series was only meant for collectors. It’s not our fault the images were distributed to a hundred restaurants,” said Wälchli.

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But Migros holds no truck with that.

“To say that these designs would not have caused a problem if they were only destined for collectors is an argument we cannot accept,” said Cerf.

“Whether the pots were destined for collectors or for Migros, it’s unacceptable. Hitler has no place on a cream pot lid!”

Wälchli told 20 Minutes: “Of course it’s terrible what happened at the time of Hitler, but awful things happen today too. People are being decapitated in Syria.”

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