Italian prosecutors are investigating how bottles of wine adorned with the face of Adolf Hitler got on store shelves.
The prosecutors were tipped off by American tourists in the town of Garda, Philadelphia lawyer Matthew Hirsch and his wife Cindy. The Drinks Business website writes that the couple was horrified, particularly because Cindy's aunt and grandparents died in Auschwitz and father is a Holocaust survivor. According to the site, the wine will be removed from the market.
According to wire service JTA, the wine is produced by Lunardelli winery and is part of its "Historical Line," apparently around since the mid-1990s. The winery doesn't stop at Hitler when it comes to offending people:
Other figures pictured on labels include Italy’s fascist dictator Benito Mussolini and Soviet chief Joseph Stalin. Some labels also feature Britain’s World War II leader Winston Churchill.
Prosecutor Mario Giulio Schinaia spoke with news agency ANSA, saying the "only crime that could be currently attributable to this is that of apologising for fascism ... At this point, though, it would be opportune to invent the crime of human stupidity."
Cindy Hirsch further expressed her shock to the publication, stressing that the incident is "not only an affront to Jews ... It is an affront to humanity as a whole." The owner of the supermarket that sold the wine defended its sale, saying it was a part of history, "like Che Guevara."
Italian integration minister Andrea Riccardi has decried the incident. The Telegraph published a statement from Riccardi, who says he wants to "reassure our American friends who visit our country that our Constitution and our culture rejects racism, anti-Semitism and Nazi fascism." The bottle, he said, offends the memory of millions of people and "risks compromising the image of Italy abroad."
Last month, a woman told European gay news site Pink News that she was ejected from a London gay bar when she objected to a bottle of wine adorned with the image of Adolf Hitler. Although we can't verify it was the same wine that the Hirschs saw, it was allegedly sitting beside another bottle with the image of Mussolini on its label.
The debate over Hitler wine labels comes months after officials in Vienna gave the OK to a man selling wine and schnapps featuring Hitler on the label. The ruling was notable not least because Austria law bans anything glorifying the Nazi era.
Van Gogh Peanut Butter & Jelly Vodka
We're not sure what to make of the alcohol industry's fascination with flavors from childhood, but here's another for the trend: Peanut butter and jelly-flavored vodka from Van Gogh. HuffPost Food recently did <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/10/peanut-butter-jelly-vodka_n_1415795.html" target="_hplink">a taste test of the product that yielded mixed reactions</a>.
Alaska Distillery Smoked Salmon Vodka
Sure, you like smoked salmon on bagels, but on vodka? <a href="http://www.alaskadistillery.com/" target="_hplink">Alaska Distillery</a> is banking on your curiosity winning out.
Naked Jay Big Dill Pickle-Flavored Vodka
Ah, a vodka to make Snooki proud. Naked Jay's pickle-flavored vodka sort of takes the joy out of the <a href="http://tmagazine.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/03/16/case-study-got-your-pickleback/" target="_hplink">pickleback shot</a>.
Three Olives Bubble Gum Vodka
Too bad you can't blow any bubbles with <a href="http://www.threeolives.com/new/" target="_hplink">Three Olives</a>' bubble gum vodka.
Purgatory Hemp Seed Spirits
It might not get you lifted, but Purgatory from <a href="http://www.alaskadistillery.com/" target="_hplink">Alaska Distillery</a> is the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/20/hemp-vodka_n_1439979.html" target="_hplink">first spirit in the U.S. to be made with hemp seeds</a>.
Bakon Vodka (Bacon Flavored)
Care for some bacon with your vodka? <a href="http://bakonvodka.com/" target="_hplink">Bakon Vodka</a> has you covered.
Pinnacle Vodka Cake Vodka
Why eat cake when you can drink it? At least that's the question the creator of <a href="http://www.pinnaclevodka.com/flavors" target="_hplink">Pinnacle Vodka</a>'s cake flavor must have asked at one point.
Skorppio Vodka (Scorpion Flavored)
Don't worry, the creepy crawler lounging at the bottom of your bottle of <a href="http://www.skorppio-vodka.com/" target="_hplink">Skorppio</a> vodka won't hurt you. The poison has been taken out, but the shock value remains.
Smirnoff Fluffed Marshmallow Vodka
<a href="http://www.smirnoff.com/en-us/" target="_hplink">Smirnoff</a> likes dessert-flavored vodkas, too. Marshmallow-flavored vodka, anyone?
Pinnacle Vodka Cotton Candy Vodka
While we're on the subject of Pinnacle's sweet-themed bottles, here's another flavor: <a href="http://www.pinnaclevodka.com/flavors" target="_hplink">Cotton candy.</a>
Smirnoff Whipped Cream Vodka
<a href="http://www.smirnoff.com/en-us/" target="_hplink">Smirnoff</a> also offers this whipped cream-flavored variety. Where's the cherry on top?
Three Olives Root Beer Vodka
OK, so root beer isn't a totally-off-the-wall flavor, but do we really need it in vodka-form? Three Olives <a href="http://www.threeolives.com/flavor/root-beer&nav=0" target="_hplink">thinks so</a>.
Green Geisha Wasabi-Flavored Vodka
Looking for a way to clear your sinuses? Try <a href="http://hardtimesdistillery.com/" target="_hplink">Hard Times Distillery</a>'s Green Geisha wasabi-flavored vodka.
Underdog Wine & Spirits Cupcake Frosting Vodka
Why eat a cupcake when you can drink it? At least that's what Underdog Wine & Spirits is wondering. Its <a href="http://www.cupcakevodka.com/delicious-flavors/frosting#" target="_hplink">website</a> describes the product as having "frothy vanillin aromas and flavors that perfectly capture the enticing character of white frosting."