German Pub Owner Arrested For Displaying Four Bottles of Führer Wine

Screen grab of website advertsing Hitler wine and Hitler Schnapps
Screen grab of website advertsing Hitler wine and Hitler Schnapps

We have previously discussed the alarming rollback on free speech rights in the West, particularly in France (here and here and here and here and here and here) and England ( here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here). Much of this trend is tied to the expansion of hate speech and non-discrimination laws. We have seen comedians targeted with such court orders under this expanding and worrisome trend. (here and here). The roots of these laws can be traced in part to the post-World War German law banning symbols and terms from Nazi Germany. None of the criminalization has stopped the rise of neo-Nazi groups of course. However, it does put the German government in the position of constantly prosecuting ridiculous cases. The latest is a pub owner who displayed four bottles with the picture of Hitler and one showing a Nazi salute.

While I am certainly sympathetic to the Germans in seeking to end the scourge of fascism, I have long been a critic of the German laws prohibiting certain symbols and phrases, I view it as not just a violation of free speech but a futile effort to stamp out extremism by barring certain symbols. Instead, extremists have rallied around an underground culture and embraced symbols that closely resemble those banned by the government. I fail to see how arresting a man for a Hitler ringtone is achieving a meaningful level of deterrence, even if you ignore the free speech implications. Such doubts also can be raised over private efforts to ban the number “88” from detergent boxes.

We have previously discussed the Führer Wine. In this case, the four bottles were spotted in Augsburger Allgemeine and a full police investigation and premises search was conducted as they looked for violations of Strafgesetzbuch section 86a, prohibiting the use of symbols of the Nazi party or words like “Heil Hitler.” The law includes the prohibition that “Whoever domestically disseminates or produces, stocks, imports or exports … means of propaganda … of a party which has been declared to be unconstitutional by the Federal Constitutional Court … shall be punished with imprisonment for not more than three years or a fine.”

The wine actually comes from Italy and the pub owner thought it was funny. He is now facing sentencing.

34 thoughts on “German Pub Owner Arrested For Displaying Four Bottles of Führer Wine”

  1. Dear William – are you sure you didn’t get the short history mixed up with the long history?

    1. Well, I can tell you my short story. I ain’t watching no more NFL games for a year or two. I am sick of all the political pandering that major league sports is into. So during the anthem, the idiots like Krapperneck can sit, stand, lay down, or stick their thumbs up their rear ends, and I could care less. It ain’t like I got plenty to watch. My goodness, you can watch operas in their entirety on Youtube, and concerts, and classic films. That’s not even counting Hulu, Netflix, and Showtime, and Amazon. Plus, reading, and listening to music, and playing music. Which, I am trying to learn this really cool song from the 60’s:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QCRYA6ck3x0

      Squeeky Fromm
      Girl Reporter

  2. A Short History of Oppression

    In the era of political correctness, what is oppression? According to NASCO (North American Students of Cooperation) laughing at a joke about blacks or gay people is oppressive. While others that are not as sensitive, may say that oppression is the codification into law of prejudice or bias. So we have two examples of interpretations that seem to be vastly different. The NASCO version is based on sensitivities and how people may have their feelings injured. The other more traditional, or less politically correct interpretation, is founded upon the denial of basic human rights.
    It is very difficult to behave in a way that will make all feel like gold medal winners. Therefore, if we accept the NASCO interpretation and or definition of oppression, we must all refrain from speaking or acting, lest we might accidentally offend someone and be labelled oppressors. Some might consider this standard to be somewhat oppressive, or at least repressive. For a moment consider the treatment of the Jews in Nazi Germany. To an insensitive old school thinker, that was oppression. Can we all agree on that?
    Perhaps there is a unifying event for all Western people concerning oppression. Something we are all familiar with. WE can ask ourselves did Rome oppress Christians?

    Does denying basic human rights to all serfs, of all origins, count as oppression. How about The Stalin period in the USSR and the great leap forward under Mao? You see, in history we have not counted hurt feelings, we have counted bodies. So, in a historical context oppression has been acts of government on segments of society or society at large. Consider the mass Sunni graves in Iraq.
    Grammarist.com provides us with an idea of oppression, repression and suppression.
    What is the difference between oppression and repression?
    Oppress, repress, suppress. To oppress means to keep (someone) down by unjust force or authority. To repress is (1) to hold back, or (2) to put down by force. Suppress, which is broader and more common than the other two, means (1) to put an end to, (2) to inhibit, and (3) to keep from being revealed.

    What we see in this summary is that oppression includes authority. To many this inclusion of authority implies state sponsorship and enforcement or government turning a blind eye to actions of a majority ethnic group. Examples would be Black codes in the South after the 14th amendment. The supreme court decision in United States VS Cruikshank for example. This decision virtually took away the right of Blacks to self-defense. Denial of rights is oppression under any definition.
    Let us look to the Middle East for a moment. Are there examples of inequality there? Say for women, Christians, Jews, Kurds, Shia and Sunnis, girls and women? Are any people in those countries denied basic rights by law or custom? What does NASCO say about that? I am sure some feelings are hurt in that part of the world. So is it feelings or denial of rights that characterizes oppression. Does the evaluation change in different parts of the world, or is it a universal truth?
    Can we mention the Native American population in a conversation about oppression? Perhaps reservations are worth mentioning? How about voting rights for women? It seems our Union has been less than perfect. What of indentured servants and of course slaves? What does the Exodus represent in terms of oppression? How about the conflicts between Catholics and Protestants? What can be said about the Arabs and Jews? Now, in this broader context, how does laughing at an ethnic joke stack up on a scale of oppression? Should we ban rap music for the lyrics and ban comics for the jokes? Would that be censoring Chris Rock and Jay Z? would that be oppressive? What is insinuated by white people consuming these entertainment products?
    It is a given, and we can stipulate, that History is full of oppression. However, today is different. Today we suffer injustice but we do not endure oppression. Calm Down. Oppression is the denial of rights by the state. Injustice is the unequal application of law. Never mind that the 14th Amendment oppressed whites. Often times the 14th Amendment is thought of as equal protection under the law, which is a good thing. However, that is just section 1. Section 3 and 4 need to be considered as well. While you read them please consider whether or not they were oppressive and if they may have contributed to future problems;
    Section 3.
    No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any state, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any state legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any state, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.
    Section 4.
    The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any state shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.

    Clearly the 14th amendment denied Southern whites equal status under the law. Given this truth, should all whites in the South protest against the Anthem? Or, is that history and not applicable today. What is then significance of Brown VS Board of Education? The Civil Rights Act and the Voting rights act? Can we still say that state sanctioned oppression is codified in law? What of the Bill of Rights? Is not the right to protest antithetical to being oppressed? The irony confounds us. BLM defies oppression simply by their activities and even their existence. Now, that we have debunked the myth of oppression let us march on to injustice.
    Can we say Injustice involves unequal application of the laws? How about the absence of fair play? Remember the American aspiration of liberty and justice for all. Furthermore, what of equal opportunity for all. Is living in the absence of fear an inalienable right? Where does of the people, for the people, and by the people come into play. Is the denial of choice oppression? Is poverty tantamount to Oppression? What is the absence of opportunity in the framework of oppression?
    Once upon a time our government passed a law called the Indian Removal act. Eventually this led to the Trail of Tears. What happened to the traditional Indian economies as they were relocated to infertile lands? What government assistance was required in order to sustain the population? How is this comparable to the plight of the Urban poor today? Are the urban poor forced to stay put, as the Indians were? Are the Urban poor denied the vote? Finally, who if anyone is responsible for the plight of the urban poor?
    Malcolm X is known for speaking about the vicious cycle of poverty. Clearly he blames poor schools on poor neighborhoods and poor education being a root cause of a cycle of poverty. So what interests block school choice, does this lack of freedom represent oppression? Does the NAACP support school choice?
    Who supports tax policies that deplete neighborhoods from middle class manufacturing jobs? In reservation terms who made this land infertile? Whose policies deny the inhabitants the opportunity of self-sufficiency? Who controls the police force and system of justice for the urban poor? Who votes the politicians into office in minority controlled high crime, high poverty, high social assistance, poor opportunity and poor education system areas. If there is indeed oppression and or injustice is the injustice self-imposed? If it is self-imposed who is to blame?
    It is the economically disenfranchised that have voted virtually as a block since 1964 for progressive policies. It is the same community that controls many major urban areas with high crime and high unemployment. It is the same community that champions more assistance at the expense of opportunity.
    The injustice that exists is some communities, is dependent upon those that claim to be the victims of injustice. They are the ones responsible for the consequences of the policies and politicians they vote for. There is no systematic oppression that prohibits the lawful actions of any group today. Jim Crow has passed and all the rebels have long been dead. So while we have those that have attained great status and wealth, not standing for the Anthem it is because common sense has been compressed out of their souls.
    Remember the cross, remember the Holocaust, remember the Great Leap Forward, and remember Normandy. Celebrate your right to protest, which proves you are not oppressed, and stand for the Anthem. If you are really motivated, invest instead of protest.

  3. Back on topic: a German reader commented on the original article that: the law forbids symbols of the NSDAP and that a picture of Hitler is not a symbol – just like a picture of Angela Merkel is not a symbol of the CDU party. Another good point he had is that “Der Spiegel” constantly features Hitler on its front page and its editors haven’t been charged with violating this law.

  4. A more profitable read would be Reconstruction by Foner. Blacks were re-enslaved after Reconstruction. They were share croppers who were cheated, and perpetually kept in debt. When it was harvest time, the local cops went out and arrested enough blacks and put them to work in the fields with NO PAY as county prisoners. Blacks were not allowed to leave their place or town of residence by law. They of course had no vote or any rights at all. The NAACP was an illegal organization and a person would be thrown in jail and prison for membership. The northern industries would seek workers from the South, and if a recruiter was caught he was thrown in jail. So please tell the truth for a change.

    1. Uh, all sharecroppers had it bad, even the white one. And no, the “northern industries did [NOT] seek workers from the South.” Jason Riley explains in his book how the Davis-Bacon Act came into existence. Here is another site that explains it:

      The co-author of the Act, Representative Robert Bacon, represented Long Island. Bacon was a racist who was concerned lest immigration upset the nation’s “racial status quo.” In 1927, he introduced H.R. 17069, “A Bill to Require Contractors and Subcontractors Engaged on Public Works of the United States to Comply With State Laws Relating to Hours of Labor and Wages of Employees on State Public Works.” This action was a response to the building of a Veterans’ Bureau Hospital in Bacon’s district by an Alabama contractor which employed only black laborers.

      Representative William Upshaw, understanding the racial implications of Bacon’s proposal, stated: “You will not think that a southern man is more than human if he smiles over the fact of your reaction to that real problem you are confronted with in any community with a superabundance or large aggregation of negro labor.”[2]

      https://fee.org/articles/davis-bacon-jim-crows-last-stand/

      Nowadays we see the same thing with Hispanic workers flooding into the country. At least back in the day, the blacks were American citizens.

      Squeeky Fromm
      Girlo Reporter

  5. While I appreciate the civil liberties concern, Germany post WWII is NOT like the USA. We had to occupy and change a whole system of vicious barbarity that had permeated the whole body politic. Thus the laws against the Nazis and emblems. We can see the result in the USA of how the death of Reconstruction lead to re-enslavement of black Americans. As long as Federal troops were in power, the rights of black Americans were somewhat secure. When they were withdrawn, and Confederate symbols were allowed back in public, and exalted, the cancer and disease spread and we are STILL paying the price of NOT following the German example. My solution after the war would have been to execute all the SS officers, and Nazi party officials. That would have gone a long way to not needing such laws. Then we could have civil liberties be the main concern for post war Germany.

    1. OH, hogwash! They weren’t “enslaved” again. And like Booker T. Washington tried to tell them, they needed to work on themselves as people and forget the political power nonsense. I mean, blacks have all kind of political power in big cities, and where has it got them???

      I finished a book the other day by Jason Riley, called “Please Stop Helping Us!”, and he went into a lot of the personal improvement vs. political power argument. If you really care, you should maybe spend the few bucks and buy his book.

      Squeeky Fromm
      Girl Reporter

  6. Regardless of the semantics, when you abuse your rights they are curtailed. The second amendment’s perverse interpretation that instead of a well regulated militia, any old boy can sport a 45 is interpreted as a right until the first infraction and then that right doesn’t seem to be so god given, inalienable, or whatever; except in Texas and some other states where a boy can tally up several infractions before his or her wrist gets slapped. The perspective of some on this blog leads one to believe that they believe that we were put here by aliens and given these rights. Rights come with responsibilities regardless of the semantics and whackado beliefs in aliens. We have laws to govern our rights.

    1. “We have laws to govern our rights”

      We finally agree; the operative word being GOVERN! Not CREATE as you have previously submitted.

      Nicely done!

  7. Riesling, You are a great contributor from the other side of the pond. Thanks for the info.

  8. Free speech is NOT a privilege. It is a human right! An “INALIENABLE” right. We need to build a wall on the Canadian border.

    1. Absolutely right Nick. Our Canadian contributor’s worldview denies the citizen any natural rights. The fruit of that is of course a government guided by the will of those empowered to govern and not the rule of law. The ignorance of that worldview is astounding; it’s like playing Russian Roulette with one’s own security of life, liberty and property. Why in the world would ANYONE advocate such a position is beyond my understanding of human nature.

    2. @NickS

      Thanks for saying that. Next, someone will tell us that going to the bathroom is a privilege, not a right. And they will try to control our toilets and outhouses! Oh wait . . . they already are. Never mind.

      Squeeky Fromm
      Girl Reporter

  9. What is missed here is the fact that without these laws there would be an increased encroaching acceptance and normalization of Nazi ideals. Even with this criminalization there are still those who crawl out from under their slimy rocks. The atrocities of the Nazi era stand not only as crimes against the Jews, Russians, Homosexuals, Gipsies, and all the others that provided fodder for unity through hatred, but as an example of what can happen when people forget that darker side of them. Perhaps the privilege of free speech is designed for expressions that don’t promote racism, hatred, and eventually mass murder. Lest we forget.

  10. Oh, I forgot. The author makes the following statement about German laws prohibiting Nazi behavior and whatnot: “None of the criminalization has stopped the rise of neo-Nazi groups of course.”
    Wrong! The criminalization allowed Germany to come forward since 1945 quite a bit. The anti Nazi laws need to be enforced.

    Read the book entitled Tryanny On Trial by Whitney Harris. He was an American Prosecutor at the Nuremberg Trials.

    1. Speaking of books, there are two I recommend, even though I haven’t even nearly finished one of them. The first is a two book series called “Male Fantasies” by Theweleit. It is a Jungian analysis-type set of books on the Freikorps. The part about some Nazis playing with themselves during floggings was sehr interessant.

      Also one called Der Fragebogen by Salomon. Wiki says:

      The Questionnaire (German: Der Fragebogen) is a 1951 autobiographical novel by the German writer Ernst von Salomon. It was published in the United Kingdom as The Answers. It is based on the denazification questionnaire which all Germans with some form of responsibility were forced to take by the military government after World War II. Salomon’s detailed answers about his political background, membership of various organisations and so on become a portrayal of Germany during the interwar period, World War II and the immediate post-war period.

      The book became a phenomenon in Germany and sold in large numbers. It was a reference point in the public discourse for years and has continued to be in print.

      I have started and stopped the book about a half dozen times. It is great reading, but I always seem to get distracted by something else. But what I have read so far is fascinating. My father had a copy of that, plus the 17 volume set of Nuremburg trial stuff printed by Congress in like 1947??? None of which I was able to steal, so I had to buy my own copy of Fragenbogen.

      Squeeky Fromm
      Girl Reporter

  11. Germany has a unique place in history in the years after WWI and ending in the years up to the end of the Berlin Wall. The Nazi Era and the German killing of millions of people in death camps is unique. No other tribe or nation state has gone so far. There have been other assaults and Holocausts in places such as Armenia and the Soviets did their share. In America we had something akin to it with something referred to in the Andrew Jackson Era as: ______. Anyone one want to chime in?

    To “cure” the Nazi problem after WWII the victors in the War implemented some attempts to quell the German behaviors which were viewed as unfit for humans. The Germans were not considered “up to speed” in some sense. Democracy? Well yeah, but not freedom in the full extent like in America because it would lead to the re Nazification if you allowed them to yak in Heil terms. The Nazi symbol is barred of course. It and many other aspects of the Third Reich MUST be outlawed.

    None of the criminalization has completely stopped the rise of neo-Nazi groups of course. This collection of humans on planet Earth are unique and they are unfit for being allowed free reign.

    The issue of muslim migration into Germany is quite relevant here. All of us should oppose it. This group of outsiders will give rise to a new Nazi effort to kill them off.

    None of the criminalization has stopped the rise of neo-Nazi groups of course. Muslims should not migrate to this area of the world. Nor should Jews, American Indians, or Hindus.

    You Americans on this blog who wish to give Germans free speech and other rights seem to have no recollection or knowledge of the Holocaust. It was not that long ago.

    The dork selling Nazi products should be prosecuted. The trial should be in Nuremburg. He should be sentenced to a prison camp in Auschwitz. Ich mochter ein double zimmer fur ein nacht.

  12. “Augsburger Allgemeine” is the name of the newspaper that reported on the case, not the name of the pub.

  13. The furor over “Der Fuhrer” is simply leftist hypocrisy. Leftists always enjoy pretending that they are interested in stamping out things deemed objectionable. The idea is to make it appear that they are “good,” “caring” people. But, of course, their real agenda is promoting and assisting the enemies of civilization. Thus, Germany imposes bans on the Hitler brand of, say, root beer, but imports as many Muslims as they can to help advance the Islamic version of Naziism, to hasten the destruction of civilization.

    1. Great pun – “furor / Fuhrer” but Grammar Nazi sez “the furor over DEM Fuhrer” (object of the preposition).

      1. L, maybe so on the grammar, but “der” seems more natural sounding to my native English tongue than “dem,” in this case. But I’ll keep your suggestion in mind.

  14. Ich finde das sehr lustig. It’s blowback against Merkel. The far right in Germany is flourishing again due to her immigration policies which allows young Muslim males in to their country. My friends who have daughters in Deutschland are literally terrified of Muslim men attacking them. Thank YOU Obama and HRC for destroying Western Europe. NOT

    1. I look for Hitler to become a lot more popular in the world. First, the generation that directly experienced him and the horrors of the camps and other things is dying off. Second, there is now a justifiable fear that the import of outsiders are ruining our countries.

      What I find interesting, is that Hitler has always been popular among Muslims, who are like 95% anti-Jewish.( I would say anti-Semitic, but the Middle Eastern ones (Arabs) themselves are a “Semitic” people. Sooo, that is a distinction for their form on prejudice.) Sooo, one would think that Fuhrer Beer would be a hit among the more decadent Muslim immigrants.

      Anyway, America, a few decades hence, will be seeking its own Hitler to take out all the garbage that has built up in our country. Probably after I’m dead, but maybe sooner. I remember how violent the middle class teachers got in Wisconsin when Walker cut back a few of their perks, and the SJWs in Chicago and elsewhere shutting down Trump rallies, sooo the white upper-ish middle class definitely has the seeds in them. Just let the financial problems hit them right in the SUVs and suburbs, and they will start goose-stepping.

      Squeeky Fromm
      Girl Reporter

  15. Billy Beer should be banned also. It was a national embarrassment, as was he. Lèse-majesté against President Carter.

  16. Free speech issues aside, the forbidden fruit is always intriguing.

    The frequency of these occurrences suggest that the laws are not very effective at deterring Nazi symbols.

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