TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) _ A Taiwanese company apologized today for using a cartoon of Adolf Hitler in advertisements for German-made electric space heaters and said the ads would be removed in three days.

The K.E. and Kingstone trading firm decided to halt the ad campaign a day after The Associated Press reported that it offended German and Jewish residents of Taipei. The German manufacturer of the heaters, DBK, also ordered the ads be pulled immediately.

The posters feature a smiling caricature of the Nazi leader in a khaki uniform and black jackboots, his right arm raised high in a salute. Above him is a white space heater and the slogan ``Declare war on the cold front!''

Huang Chong-jung, manager of the Taiwanese company's marketing department, said the ads would be removed from buses, subway stations and other locations within three days.

Huang said the ad was never intended to be a show of support for Hitler. The company merely decided to use him to emphasize that the heaters were made in Germany, he said.

``We thought it was just a comic picture, but we didn't think of the negative response from foreigners in Taiwan, from Germany and the Jewish people,'' Huang said. ``Now when we do things for the public, we will think about everyone and from every perspective.''

Huang said DBK, based in the southwest German city of Kandel, did not know about the advertisement and never approved it.

The Taiwanese company has been the sole distributor of DBK's heaters in Taiwan for 18 years. Traditionally, the company shows DBK its ads during a visit to DBK headquarters in the spring, after the end of the electric heater season.

On Monday, DBK executive director Hans-Hermann Alfers said the company first heard about the ad on Friday. Alfers said the company's managers would order an immediate stop to the campaign.

Hilmar Kaht, director general of the German Trade Office in Taipei, said he was pleased the company moved so swiftly to pull the ads.

``I'm quite sure they had no political intentions,'' Kaht said. ``It was a very bad campaign, and we made it clear that we wanted them to stop it.''