Tag Archives: Adolf Hitler

Italian newspaper derided for giving away free copies of ‘Mein Kampf’

When “Mein Kampf” fell into the public domain on January 1 this year, enabling it to be freely printed, often those that choose to do so justified it as the publication of a historical document. The merits of that argument were undoubtedly dubious although the German edition, published for the first time since World War II, included critical annotations by historians.

However, on Saturday, a right-wing Italian newspaper was giving away free copies of Adolf Hitler’s anti-Semitic manifesto in a move which, unsurprisingly, has sparked both shock and condemnation.

“Know it in order to reject it” was the weak justification given by conservative tabloid Il Giornale. Known for its right-wing position, notably over the question of immigration, Il Giornale has a circulation of around 200,000.

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi quickly denounced the initiative on Twitter, writing: “I find it sordid that an Italian daily is giving away Hitler’s ‘Mein Kampf’. I embrace the Jewish community with affection. #neveragain”

Il Giornale

It was also denounced by Italy’s 30,000-strong Jewish community,  “It is a vile act, light years away from any in-depth learning or study about the Holocaust,” said Renzo Gattegna, president of the Union of Italian Jewish Communities, describing the initiative as “indecent.”

The paper said the text was being freely distributed alongside the first of a series of eight history books on the Nazi Third Reich.

For 70 years, the German state of Bavaria which was handed copyright of the book in 1945, refused to allow it to be republished out of respect for the victims of the Nazis and to prevent incitement of hatred.

Bucharest mayoral candidate accuses Jewish community of lying about Holocaust dead

A Romanian watchdog group on anti-Semitism has exposed the mayoral candidacy of a Bucharest politician who said local Jews lied for money about the number of their brethren killed in the Holocaust.

Marian Munteanu
Marian Munteanu

Marian Munteanu of the National Liberal Party, Romania’s second largest, made the accusation in a press statement he co-signed in 1994, when he was part of the Christian-nationalist Movement for Romania organisation.

Jewish groups put the number of Romanians killed in the Holocaust at 420,000 to “obtain illicit moneys from Romanian people through disinformation and manipulation of public opinion, with the complicity of treacherous elements who infiltrated the Romanian institutional structures,” the statement read, the online edition of Evenimentul Zilei reported on Thursday.

 The Elie Wiesel National Institute for the Study of Holocaust warned that Munteanu “presents a concern” not only because of his nationalist rhetoric and “statements minimizing or denying” the Holocaust, but also for “misrepresenting” reality today, according to the Agerpres news website.

The institute cited an April 13 statement by Munteanu, who, in criticising legislation from last year which proscribes anti-Semitic speech and Holocaust denial, said the law itself was anti-Semitic because it singles out Jews.

In Romania, he said, “there is hardly anti-Semitism, rather xenophobia. We are all philo-Semites because we are Christians.”

Romania, where Jews were killed during World War II by troops loyal to Ion Antonescu, Adolf Hitler’s ally, has seen numerous cases of Holocaust denial, including in academia and government.

In 2012, a politician who denied that Jews had suffered in Romania during the Holocaust was appointed to a ministerial post despite protests by Jewish groups. The politician, Dan Sova, later apologized and said his statement was the result of ignorance.

A few months later, a Romanian member of the European Parliament denied the Holocaust on television. The following year, a prominent historian said it was a “huge lie” that large numbers of Jews were killed in areas under Romanian control during the Holocaust, leading to his firing from a teaching post at a German university.

Also that year, a Romanian state television channel was fined for broadcasting a Christmas carol celebrating the burning of Jews.

 

The anti-Semitic state of Britain

On the back of learning that anti-Semitic attacks in London have increased by 61 per cent over the course of the last year, according to figures from the Metropolitan Police, AntiSemitismWatch.com brings you the latest news from around the UK.

Between November 2014 and November 2015, a total of 483 such crimes were committed, up from 299 during the same period of the previous year.

Just days ago a group of Neo-Nazis staged a rally in Newcastle, England, featuring a banner with the words “Refugees Not Welcome, Hitler was Right,” accompanied by a picture of Adolf Hitler’s face. The rally was staged by members of the radical right-wing “National Action” group as a flash mob, a tactic used by other extremist groups to gain attention.

Assembling in front of a WWII monument in the Newcastle center, the Neo-Nazis made trademark Hitler salutes while shouting racist slogans, to the shock and amazement of passerby.

Understandably, many Jewish groups have been deeply disturbed by the openly anti-Semitic display.

Just yesterday police announced they were  investigating after two swastikas were daubed on a wall in North London.

The symbols were plastered onto a residential building on Highgate Road in Kentish Town.

Attending officers found offensive graffiti drawn onto a wall of the building and informed the local authority who removed it. No arrests have been made.

Conservative councillor for Housing and Community Safety, Oliver Cooper, reported the graffiti to the police. Speaking to Jewish News he said: “This appalling incident is only the latest in a sad escalation of hate crimes and hate speech: whether it’s graffiti swastikas, or hatred on social media.  It’s important that everyone tackles this head-on.  I will be asking Camden Council what’s being done to reverse this rising tide of hate locally, and make sure we keep the community safe.”

 

‘Mein Kampf’ Is A Bestseller — Why? Is it curiosity or anti-Semitism?

In a fascinating article penned by Chris Lake for the Inquisitor,  he gets to the heart of the question as to why the newly republished Mein Kampf has become a best seller in Germany?

Within a week of its re-release, Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf has nearly doubled the sales of its first print run. The first run of 4,000 copies sold by the German Institute of Contemporary History sold out within a week. Mein Kampf is now on its third print run, with over 15,000 copies sold, compared to the less than 10,000 copies Hitler moved when he first published the book in 1925. This scholarly edition of Mein Kampf is over 2,000-pages long and has more than 3,500 annotations.

Mein Kampf, which means “my struggle,” has not been widely available for sale in Germany since 1945. At that time, the Bavarian state government acquired the copyright to the book and, in the wake of World War II, had simply refused to print it. Mein Kampf is readily available in other countries. First written by Adolf Hitler when he was in prison for treason after an abortive coup, Mein Kampf is a highly anti-semitic work, which blames most of Germany’s and the world’s problems on the Jewish people. After Hitler’s rise to power and throughout the war, Mein Kampf sold over 12 million copies.

Recently, the copyright expired, and the Institute of Contemporary History stepped up. The Institute, set up at the suggestion of the Allies at the end of WWII, has been studying the rise of Hitler’s Germany since 1949, charged with the mission of understanding it to ensure that there could be no repeat. The Institute decided to self-publish an annotated copy for the purposes of history scholarship, and also as a lens through which to view current events. The commentary and criticism included within the new edition of Mein Kampf is also necessary to avoid breaking German laws regarding the incitement of hatred.

While the argument for historical study is easy to understand, and widespread availability of the book elsewhere would seem to make a German edition a relatively innocuous development, the new edition of Mein Kampf has unsurprisingly inspired strong feelings amongst some sections of the community. Award winning German writer Iris Radisch is reported in the Tehran Times as saying that she would “never touch” the book, claiming that reprinting Mein Kampf would be pleasing to neo-nazis. The Guardian, on the other hand, has praised the move, calling it “a very good edition of a very bad old book.”

Ronald Lauder, president of the World Jewish Congress, has slammed the release of Mein Kampf. He told Newsweek that releasing the book in the current climate would be like “taking a fire and throwing oil on it.” Many scholars, however, say that publishing the text with credible and scholarly annotations is the best possible inoculation against the “vile” and “illogical” ideas in Mein Kampf.

Mein Kampf, besides its hateful content, has never had a very high reputation in scholarly or literary circles. Variously described as “turgid” and “illiterate,” it is littered with errors in spelling and grammar and its argument has often been described as being tortuous and confused. The Institute and its supporters say that publishing Mein Kampf in an edition that points out its manifold flaws, inconsistencies, and untruths, is the best way to de-mystify and therefore de-glamorize fascism in all its forms.

The Syrian crisis, however, has resulted in over a million asylum applications for Germany, and in some sections of the community feelings are running high. There has been a recent resurgence for neo-nazi parties and groups as anxieties about being flooded with immigrants have overtaken some sections of the community. There is concern amongst some that the release of Mein Kampf at such a time might fan the flames of a new racist tide in Germany. While acknowledging the value to scholarship of the new edition, many commentators have pointed out that far right movements are not generally known for scholarly thinking, and that the criticisms included in the new edition are unlikely to have any effect on their enthusiasm for the text.