Shalom Life | April 21, 2014

Hitler Wine Bottles Infuriate Jewish Tourists

Jewish Americans discovered wine bottles with photos of Hitler in Italy

By: Ashley Baylen

Published: August 9th, 2012 in Culture » Society » News

Hitler Wine Bottles Infuriate Jewish Tourists

Michael and Cindy Hirsch, a Jewish American couple recently on vacation in Italy, discovered wine bottles with an image of Hitler while browsing a local supermarket.

According to the Daily Telegraph, several wine bottles featured Hitler. Of the three mentioned in the newspaper, one shows Hitler giving a Nazi salute, a second is labeled 'Mein Kampf', and the third has the slogan "ein volk, ein reich, ein fuhrer" (one people, one empire, one fuhrer).

The Hirsch's were disgusted and shocked by the open anti-Semitic display at the supermarket.

"It is very shocking and startling to us," Michael Hirsch told the Telegraph.

"We would think of it as neo-Nazism. It makes you wonder about the sympathies of the local people."

"He told me, 'It's just history, like Mussolini, like Che Guevara.' I put the bottle down on the counter and left the store," Michael Hirsch said, explaining the shopkeeper's response when asked about the Hitler bottles.

Cindy Hirsch, who lost many family members in the Holocaust, believes this is not just a blatant display of anti-Semitism, but "an affront to humanity as a whole."

According to the Jewish Virtual Library, approximately 29,000 Jews currently live in Italy. In 1952, Italy made it illegal to apologize for fascism. Italian prosecutors are beginning an investigation into 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 Italian integration minister, Andrea Riccardi.

"This offends the memory of millions of people and risks compromising the image of Italy abroad."

In a statement to the Ansa news agency, prosecutor Mario Giulio stated that "the only crime that could be currently attributable to this is that of apologizing for fascism... At this point, though, it would be opportune to invent the crime of human stupidity."

UPDATE 08/10/2012: The wine bottles depicting Hitler's image, discovered by American tourists Michael and Cindy Hirsch, were not in the country of Italy, but from tourist shops in San Marino.

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