Police called after store sells ‘German Reich’ beer

Police were called to a shop in Saxony-Anhalt after the owner sold a beer named “German Reich Brew” made by a known neo-Nazi.

Posted by Götz Ulrich on Thursday, January 23, 2020

Police in Germany are investigating a shop-owner after the beer, which was labelled with Nazi-era symbols, was sold by a retailer in the town of Bad Bibra.

The beer, called “Deutsches Reichsbräu” (German Reich Brew) was brought to public attention after local politician Götz Ulrich shared a photo of the shop’s beer display to his own Facebook page, as well as drawing attention to the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, which takes place this week and will be commemorated across the country.

Ulrich told DPA News Agency: “the worst thing is: The beer did good business and is sold out!”

“It is a devastating sign that so many people aren’t ashamed of touching this and don’t mind throwing their money at a neo-Nazi.”

Hans Adu Sarpei, retired Ghanaian-German footballer, also shared photos of the beer on Twitter, adding: “The story repeats itself if we do not clearly distance ourselves from Nazis>

The pricing of the beer also makes a reference to Germany’s far-right. The beer is being sold for  €18.88 (£15.90). As “A” is the first, and H the 8th, letter in the alphabet, the are used as code for “Adolf Hitler” and “Heil Hitler” in Neo-Nazi circles.

Beer is made in Thuringia Tommy Frenck, an extreme right former politician. He was the candidate for the far-right National Democratic Party (NPD) party in Thuringia’s state election in 2014, according to DW.com.

It is illegal to display certain symbols from the Nazi era in Germany, and doing so can be punished by up to three years in prison. The law considers symbols such as swastikas and SS sig runes the “symbols of anti-constitutional organisations.”

Even unintended allusions to this period of history can cause severe consequences. In 2016 a Bavarian brewery withdrew one of its beers after critics claimed it contained hidden messages of support for neo-Nazism.

Local student unions called for a boycott, claiming the name of the beer’s name (Named Grenzzaun Halbe beer, or “Border Fence Half”) is an anti-migrant message referencing the refugee crisis that supports calls for a border to keep out migrants, while its 88 cent price tag was an allusion to the neo-Nazi code for “Heil Hitler”. The brewery’s owner insisted he was not aware of the number 88’s significance until it was pointed out by a journalist, but apologised “formally and strongly” for the interpretation, and immediately discontinued the product to prevent further upset.

Authorities in Thuringia, however, said the “Deutsches Reichsbräu” can’t be banned as its imagery is not on the list of “prohibited symbols” in Germany.

“The imperial eagle nor the iron cross are forbidden symbols,” the police said, in response to complaints on social media. “It would be different in connection with the swastika.”

The store is a franchise within German retail group Getränke-Quelle, which immediately released a statement when the scandal broke.

“The Getränke-Quelle in Bad Bibra is not run by our employees,” it read. “The local franchisee is independent and he is permitted to sell products without consulting us. Until today we knew nothing about the sale of the beer ‘Deutsches Reichsbräu.’ We immediately got in contact with the manager and demanded the removal of the article from the store … We will have our branding removed this coming Monday.

 

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