Italian police have confiscated bottles of wine with labels depicting Hitler and other Nazis.
The wine, produced by Udine-based Vini Lunardelli, is from a range featuring famous – and infamous – historic figures such as Karl Marx, Winston Churchill, Napoleon and Mussolini.
The bottles from the ‘Der Führer’ line were seized on the grounds that they constitute ‘a glorification of the perpetrators of crimes against humanity’, according to the Agence France Presse.
Andrea Lunardelli, marketing and distribution director, said the range – launched in 1993 with labels of Che Guevara and Mussolini – was a marketing strategy to attract new customers to higher quality wine.
‘In fact the Hitler labels were not our idea, they were specifically requested by customers in Germany and Austria,’ Lunardelli told decanter.com.
‘When they saw the labels with Il Duce and Che Guevara, they suggested a series with Hitler. We would not have produced them unless there was a demand.’
The labels show Hitler giving a Nazi salute as well as pictures of Himmler, Hess and Göring.
Lunardelli said the rationale for confiscating the Hitler bottles but no others was due to the ‘discretionary’ nature of Italian law.
‘The public prosecutor accuses us of being Nazi apologists,’ he said. ‘But this wine is not bought by skinheads, it’s bought by normal people.’
The case is now in the hands of Lunardelli’s lawyers.
Written by Maggie Rosen