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Dublin: 10 °C Friday 21 November, 2014

A pint in Fritzl’s Cellar? New pub in Warsaw faces boycott over name

The manager of Fritzl’s Cellar says the name will stay – but a lot of people are outraged.

The club logo
The club logo

A PUB ON ONE of Poland’s most well known high streets has controversially named its new business venture after the infamous Austrian paedophile Josef Fritzl.

The manager of the club told one Polish news website that “marketing has its own rules” and said that market research had found 89 per cent of people surveyed had nothing against the proposed name for the bar. However, a host of outraged comments have been put on the club’s Facebook page, while other social media outlets have been set alight with heated discussions on the issue.

The pub on Nowy Świat is to be called Piwnica u Fritzla, which translates as Fritzl’s Cellar.

One angry Warsaw resident told TheJournal.ie: “The owner shrugs it off by saying it’s just black humour and she doesn’t want to hurt anyone but my friends and I have agreed to protest if they don’t change it”.

Bar owner Robert Surowiecki responded to protests from local businesses and the public after a meeting with the city council over the issue, saying:

I wanted to rapidly promote my new business and now my marketing goal has been achieved.

In his defence he added that “there was already a theatre performance about Fritzl in Vienna some time ago.” He said he was considering changing the name because he didn’t want a “war or a witch-hunt” on his hands.

The notorious Jozef Fritzl, who imprisoned his daughter for over 24 years, raping her over 3,000 times and fathering her seven children, was sentenced in 2009. He is currently serving life in jail for the death of the seventh child and multiple cases of rape. His daughter Elisabeth and her six children were freed from their family home cell in in Amstetten in 2008. Fritzl only reversed his not guilty pleas when his daughter Elisabeth appeared in court.

It seems that the sudden arrival of a wave of disapproval towards the business owner’s branding exercise may be having an effect: due to the media attention, they have deleted the eyes and nose of their ‘patron’ from their logo to make him less recogisable, although the name remains.

The most controversial and ill-timed marketing campaign in Poland in recent years involved a promotional billboard for beer which read ‘Zimny Lech’ (Cold Lech) opposite Wawel Castle in Krakow. It was erected just after President Lech Kaczynski’s body was laid to rest there after the Smoleńsk air tragedy.

Read: Polish Prime Minister embarrassed by Irish photo blunder >

Read: Josef Fritzl divorces wife for failing to visit him in prison >

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