Adolf Hitler fans could buy almost any conceivable Nazi-themed object at an online retailer. But that could end now the alleged operator of the site has been tracked down through bank transactions and postage companies.
German prosecutors are investigating a man for allegedly running a mail order website that sells a huge variety of Nazi-themed products, officials told German news outlets.
The offending site sells products such as peanuts packaged like a tin of Zyklon B, the poison gas most notably used in the gas chambers of Auschwitz-Birkenau.
Other products include SS bed linen, busts of Hitler and his cronies, various Nazi-themed rip-offs of famous alcohol brands, such as “Reichs Jägermeister” (referring to an official title once held by Hermann Göring) or “Heil Hitler” (instead of Heineken), children’s furniture adorned with Nazi symbols and general Nazi paraphernalia.
The public prosecutor’s office in Neuruppin told reporters it was investigating a man from Uckermar in northeastern Germany for incitement to hatred and other crimes. He faces up to five years in prison if convicted.
Prosecutors told public broadcaster RBB they tracked down the operator down through bank accounts in the Baltic states and through the postal service providers he used. He is allegedly based in Gibraltar.
RBB reported the man was already involved in a long-postponed trial for separate Nazi-related crimes.
Spirit maker Jägermeister is now taking legal action against the alleged operator of the website for impinging on its copyright, according to the Berliner Morgenpost.
Section 130 of Germany’s penal code defines incitement to hatred as a criminal offense. Several crimes fall under this category, including inciting hatred against a national, racial, religious group, and approving of, denying or downplaying an act committed under the rule of National Socialism. Doing so is not protected by Germany’s constitutionally guaranteed freedom of speech, as the country’s top court asserted in 1994.