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German pub owner facing prison time for displaying ‘Hitler’ wine

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Wine bottles stored in a shelf, very shallof DoF (Ina Peters)

A pub owner in Augsburg, Bavaria, could be making the involuntary move from behind his bar to behind bars after police raided his joint and found four bottles of Führer Wine-- wine featuring pictures of Adolf Hitler-- on the premises.

According to police reports, all four bottles features pictures of infamous dictator on their labels, and one included the Nazi Sieg Heil salute.

According to The Local, citing a report in Augsburger Allgemeine, police said they searched the premises after they received a complaint that the pub owner displayed the bottles on his bar. The bar owner, who has not been named, said he’d received the wine bottles as a present and thought they were “funny.”

But nobody's laughing today because Germany has very strict laws banning speech and symbols that glorify the Third Reich.

Strafgesetzbuch section 86a, part of the nation’s criminal code, prohibits the use of symbols associated with unconstitutional organizations — one of which just happens to be the Nazi Party. It also bans the use of words like “Heil Hitler.”

According to the law, “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.”

Police said the 49-year-old pub owner claimed he was unaware of the law. They also said they’d found no evidence that he was linked to any far-right political group.

The bottles may have originated in Italy, which, unlike its neighbor to the north, has no laws preventing the manufacture or sale of Hitler-branded products. Four years ago, an American woman on vacation with her husband in Italy said she was shocked to see bottles of Führerwein being sold in a supermarket there.

"It is not only an affront to Jews, even if my husband and I are Jewish. It is an affront to humanityas a whole,” Cindy Hirsch of Philadelphia told The Daily Telegraph at the time.

The bar owner is currently awaiting sentencing.