New Jersey, home of Hitler's toilet

Hitler's toilet in Florence, N.J. (Photo: Hana Hawker/Tablet Magazine)

In Tablet Magazine, a most unlikely profile of Greg Kohfeldt, who ended up acquiring a little something extra when he bought Sam Carlani’s auto-repair shop in Florence, N.J. almost 20 years ago: a toilet that came off of Hitler’s biggest private yacht, the Aviso Grille.

Kohfeldt pointed out to me that the toilet has all the traits of a toilet from a ship—including an open side slot for seawater to be pumped in. The knobs on the faucet bear text written in Blackletter—the famous and classically German family of typefaces that Hitler adored. (The Nazis, in 1933, chased typographer Jan Tschichold out of Germany for advocating use of sans-serif fonts instead of Blackletter, among other design travesties.) The toilet has been a “functional tourist attraction” since 1952, Kohfeldt said. People would take road trips—as I had—just to see it. (Indeed, the toilet is listed in Roadside America’s online guide.) But last year, the toilet finally did make it to London as Hitler intended, when a British game show—Four Rooms, a lot like a British version of Antiques Roadshow—flew Kohfeldt and the toilet out to appear on the air to be sold. Although they couldn’t find a buyer, Kohfeldt said he was happy to accept the free trip and relished an opportunity to mock the Führer by taking the toilet to places Adolf only dreamed of.
Read the rest of Alexander Aciman's piece in Tablet. (HT: David Burge)


    1. He’s should post a sign on the wall behind it that says

      Hitler Shat Here

      and charge for people to sit on it and get their picture taken.

      It’s money in the bank.

  1. Sorry Tablet Magazine, but ‘Antiques Roadshow’ is the British version of ‘Antiques Roadshow’.
    Sidenote: It is (I have heard) the most popular TV show inside prison there.

    1. If you wanted to be pedantic, and we always do, then ‘Antiques Roadshow’ is the American version of ‘Antiques Roadshow. Antiques Roadshow was first broadcast in 1979, the American Antiques Roadshow was only first broadcast in 1997. The things you learn from pub quizzes.

      That being said, speaking as someone who has never watched either of the programmes, Four Rooms might be a version of the American version of Antiques Roadshow, if the American version changed the programme’s format in a way which Four Rooms emulates.

    2. I was going to say the same thing, but scrolled down first. For me, this just ruins the rest of the article.

  2. Imagine if the Nazis had listened to Tschichold. We might be stuck with Blackletter for daily use with Helvetica reserved for skinheads, heavy metal and gang tattoos.

    1. Funny, but not entirely true AFAIK. The Nazis loved ‘Blackletter’, only to discover later that it had been invented by a Jewish typographer, so they banned it. It’s funny and very ironic to see skinheads running around wearing t-shirts with ‘Alte Schwabacher’ aka ‘Jüdische Schwabacher’ type printed on them.

      1. I’d always heard that the ban had as much to do with the pragmatic aspects of using a type family that was more or less illegible to non-Germans for inter-Reich communication as with any possible Jewish origins. 

        (The Nazis tended to be pretty selective about what contributions to technology and culture they decided to revile as ‘Jewish’ at any given moment, and their stance shifted along with their political ambitions. See, for example, the propaganda campaign against entertainment such as syncopated kicklines and jazz as degenerate, modernist, and Jewish before coming to power, in contrast with official knockoff Tiller-Girls troupes and creation of ‘authentically German’ jazz bands afterwards.)

  3. Hitler hated Blackletter. Hated hated hated it. Called it “Schwabacher Judenletter” Schwabachian Jew letters (Schwabach being a German town where a certain kind of Blackletter supposedly originated).
    The Nazis only used Blackletter because it fit their völkische Ideology and abandoned it as soon as they could. The reason that was given for the Reichsschriftenerlaß in 1941 was that when you rule the world propaganda would have to be readable for all their subjects but actually Hitler wanted to get rid of Blackletter long before that.But the damage to the Blackletter’s image was done and so a whole, very rich canon of beautiful letterforms with over a thousand years of history was forever stigmatized. 

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