Hitler with an Afro T-shirt in Montreal boutique Hadio offends shopper

Sierra Holtz was shopping at a boutique on Montreal’s Mount-Royal Avenue when she encountered something she thought was "extremely disturbing": A portrait of Adolf Hitler with an Afro.

Shirt meant to mock Hitler, not glorify him, store clerk says

The T-shirt bearing a picture of Adolf Hitler with an Afro has been selling well at Hadio, a Plateau-Mont-Royal boutique in Montreal. (Justin Hayward/CBC)

Sierra Holtz was shopping at a boutique on Montreal’s Mount-Royal Avenue, casually flipping through T-shirts when she found one printed with something she thought was "extremely disturbing": A portrait of Adolf Hitler with an Afro.

The label of the T-shirt read, "Too fast to live, too young to die."

Sierra Holtz found the Hitler with an Afro T-shirt at Hadio. (Alison Northcott/CBC)

Holtz said she approached the clerk at the store, Hadio, and asked why they were selling the shirts.

The clerk told her they sold well, but that she personally did not approve of them.

"I was really offended. Honestly, how could someone sell this? I couldn’t believe what I was seeing," Holtz said.

The business is registered to François Hadi, but he was out of the country and did not comment.

Other T-shirts CBC News found in the shop depicted Hitler on a beach and Hitler with a heart on his armband instead of a swastika.

A store clerk refused to do an interview, but did say the shirt is meant to mock Hitler, not glorify him.

Difference of opinion

CBC News reporter Ainslie MacLellan asked people on the street what they thought about the T-shirt in question, and came across a wide variety of opinions.

"I would never wear it, but I can understand the difference between art and a political statement," one passerby said.

Another said he could understand why some would be offended, but thought the T-shirt turned the portrayal of Hitler on its head. "I would wear it," he said.

A third person told CBC News, "You can wear it… If you want to make a lot of enemies."

Poor judgment

Steven Slimovitch, national legal counsel for B'nai Brith, told CBC News that any depiction of Hitler is a poor judgment call.

"This is an individual who killed millions and millions of people," Slimovitch said.

"We would expect the owner of the store to use his good judgment and simply say the depiction of Hitler on a T-shirt is completely, completely unacceptable."

Holtz is alarmed about the idea of Hitler becoming a trend or clothing accessory.

Earlier this week, Sears and Amazon removed a swastika ring from their online marketplaces.

“Either people are ignorant of what [Hitler] represents, or support what he stands for,” Holtz said.