No prosecution for Nazi souvenir producer in Czechia

Czech police have announced that they will not prosecute a publishing house which offers products featuring Hitler’s image, claiming the publisher is not motivated by the promotion of neo-Nazi ideology, but by pure economic interest.

Sofija Kordic
Sofija Kordic NewsMavens, Czechia
No prosecution for Nazi souvenir producer in Czechia - NewsMavens
Czech Tshirts, Wikimedia Commons

Why this story matters:

The Czech publishing house "Naše vojsko", Our troops, began selling cups and T-shirts with Hitler's image in February 2017. Two months later they offered products with the high-ranking Nazy leader, Reinhard Heydrich, “the Butcher of Prague”, the main architect of the Holocaust and Reich Protector of Bohemia. In reprisal for his assasination by Czechoslovak paratroopers in 1942, Hitler ordered the complete destruction of the Lidice and Ležáky villages.

To promote neo-Nazi ideology, give the Seig Heil salute or deny the Holocaust are punishable crimes in the Czech Republic, but Prague police announced they would not ask for the prosecution of the publisher for spreading “national, racial, social or religious hatred” or publicly expressing “sympathy for fascism”. According to them the publisher had no intention to support Nazi ideology but was led by pure commercial intentions, therefore the sale is permitted and the investigation was dropped.

One of the most bizarre detail of this story is that the director of the publishing house "Naše vojsko", Emerich Drtina, was a member of the Czech Freedom Fighter’s Union, an association of resistance fighters from World War II. He left the Union last year after being criticized by other members for selling his controversial WWII souvenirs.

Details from the story:

  • The director of the "Naše vojsko" publishing house, Emerich Drtina, said that he began selling products with Nazi leader portraits because they were in demand.
  • Along with Hitler and Heydrich, Drtina sells mugs and T-shirts with portraits of one more Nazi leader, Karl Herman Frank, but also products with images of Stalin or Saddam Hussein.
  • The sale of mugs and T-shirts has been criticized by the Federation of Jewish Communities and writer Jiri Padevet whose work is focused on the Second World War and post-war Czech history.
  • “To sell mugs with Heydrich, Stalin, Hitler, Frank or other murderers of not only Czech people but murderers of civilization is least to say inappropriate. Saying that these are collector‘s items is the excuse of a little boy”, says Padevet.
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