Italy: Wine bottles sporting Hitler, other dictators’ portraits on sale despite backlash
Bottles of wine bearing portraits of German dictator Adolf Hitler and other authoritarian leaders continue to be sold in Italy’s Remini despite massive criticism from “anti-fascist” groups. This came after Vina Lunardelli sparked controversy with the Historical Series, which started in 1995. In 2013, the Simon Wiesenthal Center called for a boycott of the series, which featured all the “notorious” dictators from French military leader Napoleon Bonaparte to Hitler.
The local government of Remini reportedly receives an average of six complaints a year, Mayor Andrea Grassi said times of Israel in an interview. When asked what measures the authorities had taken to solve the problem, Grassi said such attempts had been in vain in the past. He added that the issue was outside the mayor’s jurisdiction and said the court reversed the local government’s decision to ban “such fascist products.”
“Until a new law is passed, all attempts and measures by the municipality can lead to nothing,” he told the times of Israel.
According to the winemaker’s website, Lunardelli’s historic 1995 series accounts for almost half of their sales and therefore production.
In 2012, a feud broke out at an Italian supermarket after a US Jewish couple discovered wine bottles containing the Nazi leader while on vacation in Garda, northern Italy. The bottles bore the names “Mein Kampf,” “One People, One Reich, One Leader,” and “Fuhrer Wine.” The bottles also featured Hitler’s customary salute.
Cindy Hirsch of Philadelphia took offense at the wine bottle labels condemning the public sale of such bottles. Speak with Daily Telegraph, she revealed the picture was personally disheartening as she was an Auschwitz survivor while her grandparents and aunt were killed in concentration camps. “Not only is it an affront to Jews, my husband and I are Jews too. It’s an affront to humanity as a whole,” she said.
Investigations initiated into the manufacture of wine bottles
Then Italian integration minister Andrea Riccardi slammed the winemakers, assuring “American friends” that Italy did not support anti-Semites, Nazi fascism or racism. “This hurts the memories of millions of people and risks jeopardizing Italy’s image abroad,” Riccardi said
The Lunardelli winery now describes the collection as a “cult object among collectors”.