ROME (JTA) — The Simon Wiesenthal Center has called on distributors to boycott Lunardelli, an Italian wine company that sells wine labeled with Nazi and fascist slogans and and photos of the movements’ leaders.
“Enough is enough,” Rabbis Marvin Hier, the Wiesenthal Center’s founder and dean, and Abraham Cooper, its associate dean, said in a statement released on the center website.
The statement said they first protested the marketing of Lunardelli’s Fuhrerwein0 in 1995.
“Now an expanded line of wines that demean, diminish and mock Hitler’s victims are promoted on a slick website,” they wrote. “We reject the cynical notion by the company’s owner that this wine is marketed as ‘a joke gift.’ ”
Photos on the wine labels include Adolf Hitler, Italy’s fascist dictator Benito Mussolini, Soviet chief Joseph Stalin and other figures.
Heir and Cooper denounced “the marketing of these products” and urged 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.”
Lunardelli, which was founded in 1967, started labeling wine with pictures of Mussolini, Hitler, Stalin, Che Guevara and others in 1995 as part of what it calls a “Historical Series,” and there have been periodic protests over such labeling.
According to the company’s website, approximately half of its bottled wine is now marketed in the Historical Series, with more than 50 labels — many if not most of them dealing with Hitler, Mussolini and fascism.
The Lunardelli website says the wines are a “cult object among the collectors.”