Italy condemned for ‘tolerating’ sale of Hitler-branded wine

Simon Wiesenthal Centre said the bottles are being sold in supermarkets across the country


The Simon Wiesenthal Centre has condemned the Italian government for allowing the continued sale of bottles of wine featuring images of Hitler and Nazi slogans.

The centre, which combats antisemitism and protects human rights globally, sent activists to document the bottles, produced by Italian winemaker Vina Lunardelli as part of a “‘historical series”.

The wine is reportedly being sold in supermarkets across the country.

Shimon Samuels, the centre’s director for international relations, and the president of the European Coalition of Cities Against Racism, Benedetto Zacchiroli, urged Italy to “take seriously the abuse of its image and wine industry”.

In a joint letter to the European Commission’s antisemitism tsar, Katharina von Schnurbein, they said Italy had been cast as “the hate-mongering wine waiter of Europe.”

The centre first called for a boycott of the wine range in 2013.

The Lunardelli winery in Veneto, in northern Italy, produces roughly 100,000 bottles as part of its so-called “‘historical” line, the centre said.

Dr Samuels first protested the marketing of so-called ‘Führerwein’ in 1995, and it was temporarily taken off the shelves.

In 2017 a draft law “to criminalize the propagation of images or contents of the Fascist, Nazi or related anti-democratic parties and ideologies” was passed in the Italian Parliament’s lower chamber.

It was later abandoned by the Senate, following dissolution of the legislature.

Dr Samuels and Dr Zacchiroli called on Ms Von Schnurbein “to bring this matter to the appropriate EU bodies and ensure that prompt action be taken by Italy.”

He said that while there were no Italian laws against “domestic sales of hate,” authorities must monitor its export to Germany and France, where there are such laws.

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