VENICE (JNS) – Italy is facing renewed backlash for allowing the continued sale of wine bottles that feature Adolf Hitler’s face and Nazi slogans on its labels.
The controversial wine bottles, produced by Italian winemaker Vina Lunardelli as part of a “Historical Series,” features Nazi slogans, and pictures of Hitler and notorious SS members, such as Heinrich Himmler.
Over the summer, members of the Simon Wiesenthal Center reported and photographed the bottles being sold in supermarkets from Venice in northern Italy to Puglia in the south.
Its director for international relations, Shimon Samuels, and the president of the European Coalition of Cities Against Racism, Benedetto Zacchiroli, in a joint letter to European Commission Coordinator on Combating Antisemitism, Katharina Von Schnurbein, said, “We urge Italy to take seriously the abuse of its image and wine industry, casting its current status as ‘the hatemongering wine-waiter of Europe.’ ”
Samuels and Zacchiroli called on Schnurbein “to bring this matter to the appropriate E.U. bodies and ensure that prompt action be taken by Italy.”
Samuels added, “There may be no legal sanctions yet for domestic sales of hate. Its export, however, to Germany and France—with their existing legislation—and across the E.U. must be monitored and penalized.”
The Wiesenthal Center also called for a boycott of the bottles in 2013.
The Lunardelli winery in Veneto annually produces 100,000 bottles as part of its “Historical” line.
A draft law presented in 2017 to the Italian Parliament “to criminalize the propagation of images or contents of the Fascist, Nazi or related anti-democratic parties and ideologies” was passed in the Lower Chamber but abandoned by the Senate, following dissolution of the legislature. Italian law requires the forfeiture of all bills that did not reach the final vote in both houses.
— Pierre-REHOV (@PRehov) September 11, 2019