Simon Wiesenthal Center calls for boycott of ‘Hitler wines’ [UPDATED]
A collection of Hitler-themed wines isn’t going down easy for the Simon Wiesenthal Center.
On Thursday, the Simon Wiesenthal Center [SWC] issued a statement calling on Italian wine distributors to boycott Vini Lunardelli, an Italian-based company that sells wines with artwork of Adolf Hitler on the bottles’ labels.
“The Wiesenthal Center denounces the marketing of these products and urges wine distributors in Italy and around the world to send the only message the owner of this firm might understand—that they choose not to do any business with someone using the Nazi mass murderer as a blatant marketing tool,” the SWC statement reads.
The labels on the bottles under scrutiny feature portraits of Hitler as well as Nazi slogans such as “Sieg Heil” “Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Fuhrer!” on them.
The bottles are part of the company’s “Historical Line-Der Fuhrer“ series of bottles. There are more than six different Hitler labels to go with your Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, chardonnay or your merlot.
Representatives of Vini Lunardelli could not immediately be reached for comment.
UPDATE: Aug. 9, 9:20 a.m.: Andrea Lunardelli, direct manager at Vini Lunardelli and creator of the “Historical Line,” told the Journal in an email that the Hitler bottles had been created as a joke, but the wine eventually became successful, to the company's surprise.
“We have started with this “Historical Line” for a joke under a request from one of our customer[s], and now we sell many bottles. But we never want[ed] to do politics or to e[u]logize Hitler and his men or Mussolini or to offend someone,” Lunardelli said.
Other series that are apart of the company’s “Historical Line” include the “Italian Army” and “The Communist Collection,” with pictures of Italian fascist leader Benito Mussolini, Soviet Union dictator Joseph Stalin and others.
Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the SWC, told the Journal that he believe the bottles are offensive.
“It's denigrating the memory of Hitler’s victims and for some, giving them the opportunity to raise their glass in memory of Hitler…It really is just disgusting,” he said.