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Posted by Boghound on August 29, 2012


Italian Hitler wine bottles ‘offensive’

Wine bottles featuring Adolf Hitler on the label have been called "offensive" after complaints from US tourists in the Italian city of Garda.

Michael Hirsch, a lawyer from Philadelphia, complained to local media after he found a supermarket near his hotel was stocking wine bottles with Hitler in various poses and another bottle featuring an image of Pope John Paul II.

"It is very shocking and startling to us," Mr Hirsch told The Daily Telegraph on Wednesday. "We would think of it as neo-Nazism It makes you wonder about the sympathies of the local people."

One bottle features Hitler with his arm raised in the Nazi, another is labelled ‘Mein Kampf" and another was labelled "Ein volk, ein Reich, ein Fuhrer" (one people, one empire, one Fuhrer), Mr Hirsch said.

Local prosecutors said they have opened an inquiry into the sale of the wine bottles.

"I want to reassure our American friends who visit our country that our Constitution and our culture rejects racism, anti-Semitism and Nazi fascism," said Andrea Riccardi, the Italian integration minister. "This offends the memory of millions of people and risks compromising the image of Italy abroad."

Mr Hirsch and his wife Cindy are travelling through northern Italy on holiday and arrived in Garda on Monday.

He said he noticed the bottles when he was purchasing items at a supermarket and complained to a store employee.

"He told me ‘It’s just history, like Mussolini like Che Guevara.’ I put the bottle down on the counter and left the store."

The father of Mr Hirsch’s wife Cindy was born in Czechoslovakia and is an Auschwitz survivor. Her aunt, grandparents, and other family members died there.

"I was shocked," Mrs Hirsch said. "It is not only an affront to Jews, even if my husband and I are Jewish. It is an affront to humanity as a whole".

Prosecutor Mario Giulio Schinaia told news agency ANSA that inquiries were under way.

"The only crime that could be currently attributable to this is that of apologising for fascism," prosecutor Mario Giulio Schinaia told Ansa. "At this point though it would be opportune to invent the crime of human stupidity".

Italy made apologising for fascism a crime in 1952.

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