German automaker Volkswagen said Monday it had a severed relationship with a distributor in Mexico City after a Twitter user published photographs taken at the business showing a wall decorated with an image of a Nazi celebration of the Beetle car.
In a statement, Volkswagen’s Mexico unit condemned the photos from the salesroom in the southern neighborhood of Coyoacan and stressed its dedication to upholding human dignity.
“We strongly disapprove of (the distributor) showing those images at its facilities, which showed a regime that emphasized hatred and discrimination at a point in history that has fortunately been left behind,” the automaker said.
The dealership has not commented yet.
Initially established in the 1930s on orders by Nazi chancellor Adolf Hitler to build the “people’s car”, Volkswagen employed forced laborers for the German military effort in World War Two.
The Wolfsburg-based firm’s decision on the Mexican distributor followed the publishing of the photos of the wall decoration depicting the Nazi event, which prominently featured swastika symbols alongside an early Beetle, shared on social media.
Soon after, a prominent Jewish human rights organization urged Volkswagen to put an end to its relationship with the business.
“The most appropriate (thing) would be to drop the concession completely, in order to pass a clear message to your customers that you have learned from your history,” the Simon Wiesenthal Centre wrote in a letter to Volkswagen Mexico.
“German cars in Mexico are unacceptable if they come with the swastika,” the group said.