WHAT does the word “German” make you think about – Boris Becker, Bayern Munich, Angela Merkel, Kraftwerk, sausages…?

Talk to some people in Britain about Germany and the first images that spring to mind will be related to the Second World War. There is nothing wrong with that, as it was a period which left an indelible mark on so many lives.

Others, who have visited the country may think wistfully of gigantic steins of frothy beer, foot-long bratwursts and Bavarian oompah bands. Indeed, if one was printing a poster to promote a German-themed gastronomic evening you might think that these would be the ideal images to use as a means of attracting potential revellers.

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A North-East pub has taken a different path and seems to think a poster of a cartoon Nazi wearing a swastika armband and performing a Hitler salute makes for a better advert. If the intention was to stir up controversy and secure some free publicity for the pub then its “German Night” deserves to fail miserably.

In Germany, where the swastika elicits memories of Hitler’s final solution and the systematic murder of millions, such symbols are banned.

The conquering Allies banned their display in 1945 and the new Federal Republic of Germany enshrined that ban in law.

Banning them was appropriate then and the power that these symbols still possess to act as a rallying point for hate groups means they should still be used with great restraint today.

This isn’t a case of us saying: “Don’t mention the war” – we should never forget the great sacrifices made during that period – but using Nazi imagery in an advert is an appalling idea and whoever came up with it is a complete dummkopf.