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Hitler Wine Bottles Anger Jewish American Tourists In Italy.

Wine bottles that feature an image of Adolph Hitler have sparked outrage in Italy.

Michael Hirsch, a Jewish American tourist visiting the northern Italian city of Garda with his wife, informed local media after seeing wine bottles in a supermarket with the images of Hitler and also some of Pope John Paul II.

The Daily Telegraph of Britain reported that one bottle showed Hitler giving a Nazi salute, another was labeled "Mein Kampf" (the infamous book Hitler wrote while in prison in the early 1920s), while another had the slogan "ein volk, ein reich, ein fuhrer" (one people, one empire, one fuhrer).

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

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

Hirsch said he asked a supermarket worker about the bottles.

"He told me, 'It's just history, like Mussolini, like Che Guevara.' I put the bottle down on the counter and left the store," Hirsch noted.

Hirsch's wife, Cindy, lost several family members during the Holocaust.

"I was shocked," she told Corriere della Sera newspaper.

"It is not only an affront to Jews, even if my husband and I are Jewish. It is an affront to humanity as a whole."

Prosecutors said they will commence 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 Andrea Riccardi, the Italian integration minister.

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

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

In 1952, seven years after the end of World War II, Italy made it a crime to apologize for fascism.

According to the Jewish Virtual Library, about 29,000 Jews live in Italy.

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Title Annotation:Michael Hirsch
Publication:International Business Times - US ed.
Geographic Code:4EUIT
Date:Aug 9, 2012
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