News24

Mixed reaction to Mein Kampf reprint

2012-01-18 17:54

Berlin - Historians have welcomed news that Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf will be reprinted in Germany for the first time since the Nazi dictator's fall in 1945, just as Holocaust survivors hit out at the move.

British publisher Peter McGee said he would issue excerpts from the anti-Semitic manifesto, which laid out the Fuehrer's vision long before he took power in 1933, alongside commentary putting the work in historical context.

Academics said the time had come for some of the taboos surrounding the book in Germany to fall.

"I think we have a very inhibited approach to this material in Germany. You can read this book around the world - there is even a Hebrew translation in Israel," said journalism professor Horst Poettker, who is providing some of the annotation for the project.

"I think we should present it to as broad an audience as possible because it is the best way to learn what the National Socialists were thinking and what was so attractive about this ideology."

Legal steps

However, Jewish groups were sharply divided about the prospect, with some saying McGee was playing with fire.

"Holocaust survivors are appalled at the insensitivity and crass commercialism that would motivate the publication of Hitler's hate-filled book in the historic cradle of the Nazi terror regime," said Elan Steinberg of the American Gathering of Holocaust Survivors and their Descendants.

"The mercenary effort to publish this infamous work in Germany is not only a moral offence to the memory of all Nazi victims - Jew and non-Jew - but is also an insult to modern-day Germany which has mightily struggled to separate itself from its dark past."

Steinberg called on the state of Bavaria, which holds the rights to all publications from the main Nazi publishing house, to take the legal steps to block the publication.

The Bavarian justice ministry said it was reviewing such measures due to possible copyright violations.

McGee said that "a brochure of 12 to 15 pages" would be published on January 26 with excerpts from Mein Kampf printed on one side and commentary from a well-known historian on the opposite page.

"Everyone knows [the book] and sees it as a sort of diabolical Nazi Bible," he said.

"But people haven't read it and therefore haven't seen that it is the poor-quality and confused work of a totally twisted mind."

Racial purity

The front of the historical review entitled Zeitungszeugen (Periodical Witnesses) in which the excerpts are featured presents a portrait of Hitler, his face cut off above the clipped moustache and set against a turquoise background.

The head of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, Dieter Graumann, grudgingly gave his approval.

"Of course it would be better if it were not published but if it has to be published, it must be accompanied by historians' commentary," he said.

Mein Kampf (My Struggle) is not banned as such in Germany.

But since the end of World War II, Bavaria, which holds the rights until 2015 - 70 years after the Nazi dictator's death, has not permitted reprints.

The book, written in 1924 when Hitler was languishing in a Bavarian prison, combines elements of autobiography and sets out his views on Aryan racial purity, his hatred of Jews and his opposition to communism.

Around 10 million copies were published in Germany until 1945, according to British historian Ian Kershaw. From 1936, every German couple marrying received a copy as a wedding gift from the Nazi state.

Because the book was so prevalent in German homes, "you would have been criminalising a large part of the population had it been outlawed" after the war, Berlin lawyer Tim Hoesmann explained.

McGee said he intended to put out weekly excerpts with a circulation of around 100 000.

The publisher has been involved in disputed projects in Germany before.

In 2009, he caused a stir when he began selling reprints of the Nazi propaganda newspaper Voelkischer Beobachter (People's Observer) with comments from historians.

Bavaria launched a legal challenge to the series but succeeded only in blocking the sale of editions from after the war's outbreak in 1939.

Comments
  • Boaz - 2012-01-18 18:26

    "But people haven't read it and therefore haven't seen that it is the poor-quality and confused work of a totally twisted mind." If its such poor-quality then why print it? truth is the world must never forget - but it seems as though the world we we live in today misrepresents the Holocaust and recycles old Nazi propaganda into new anti-Israel propaganda sponsored by petrodollars. Anti-Semitism hasn't gone away; it's merely morphed into hatred of Israel. In an educated world it would make sense bringing this book back, thus not in this world.

      Graziella - 2012-01-18 18:32

      Israel's hatred is begotten by that country's treatment of the Palestinians through the years. It has absolutely nothing to do with the Fuhrer!

      Boaz - 2012-01-18 19:13

      I have ready far to many of your comments on news24 to conclude that people like you Graziella is the one and only reason a book like this should not go to reprint.

      Graziella - 2012-01-18 19:26

      I guess Hitler wrote romantically of Africans. Unlike Israelis I know how it feels to be at the receiving end of injustice hence my empathy towards the Palestinians and couldn't understand the life of me why Israel, a country made of a generation of people who had to endure the biggest humiliation in history are treating other fellow human beings almost the same way. Haven't Jews learnt anything from their European experience.

      Hotkop - 2012-01-18 22:17

      Graziella, no, sorry. Africans falls under "untermensch" in Mein Kampf.

      Hotkop - 2012-01-18 22:28

      Graziella, what receiving end of injustice are you refering to?

      Dan - 2012-01-19 00:59

      Boaz its not a criminal offence to print poor quality misguided opinions or reason not to print it , if those we sufficient reasons not to print something then nothing that the hon pres Zuma utterings or any of Malema's utterings would have been printed

      GrootWitHaai - 2012-01-19 07:54

      Just ignore her. She can't make up her mind whether she wants to support the Jews against the reprinting of Mein Kampf or support the Philistines against the Israelis or pretend to us that she was an anti-Apartheid activist during the 80's. That is wun too mush of confused freedum fighta.

      Graziella - 2012-01-19 08:57

      Hotkop - January 18, 2012 at 22:17 Graziella, no, sorry. Africans falls under "untermensch" in Mein Kampf xxxxxxxxx What is this supposed to prove regarding my post. Another simpleton who has a deficiency in deciphering print and context. For a clue, look at Boaz's post. I've never seen such a large concerntration of simpleminded white people in one place. You people really struggle with figures of speech.

      Hotkop - 2012-01-19 09:50

      I replied to YOUR "I guess Hitler wrote romantically of Africans" Do you get that? Should I explain in such a way that YOU understand. Oh, and "I've never seen such a large concerntration of simpleminded white people in one place" is a racist remark. Skin colour can't be blamed for your low IQ.

      Hotkop - 2012-01-19 09:51

      "What is this supposed to prove regarding my post" I asked you a question. "what receiving end of injustice are you refering to?"

      Hotkop - 2012-01-19 09:56

      Well, looking at the number of dislikes you get, I don't think anyone understands what you mean.

      Graziella - 2012-01-19 10:01

      To turn comments into a popularity contest turns News24 into a high school. Constantly counting the number of downvotes suggests to me issues of low self-esteem. The really odd part about this is that the low self-esteem leads to behaviours that simply reinforce the low sense of self-worth. This is not about groupthink, but rather about intelligent dialogue.

      Hotkop - 2012-01-19 10:20

      No, it shows that the majority don't agree with you and don't like your way of thinking.

      Graziella - 2012-01-19 10:41

      It is my way of thinking and is not meant to be liked by anyone else. I'm not a light switch for you and I'm not trying to convert anyone either so I don't care. You don't need to agree, just reflect on what has been said and then offer your own comments that go beyond simply the profane and the vitriolic.

  • Napo Moloi - 2012-01-18 18:33

    Good way to encourage those neo-nazi's to start WWIII

  • Dan - 2012-01-18 21:51

    What about freedom of speech ?? if you want to ban every book that offends there will be no books left. Lets start with the bible , its hatefull against non christians , it tells off the christian god commanding them to lay waste to cities ,How about the Koran , in which Mohammad command them to kill infidels and stone adulteriuos woman ??? . Let people publish what they want and let them suffer the consequences. Like the American publishing company that was sued out of existince because they published " The hitman "

      Jonathon - 2012-01-18 23:05

      Bro, the bible encourages people to love one another, including those you consider your enemies. You should read one properly some time ;-)

      Jaba - 2012-01-18 23:20

      Dan, i never thought of that! both Mein Kampf & the Koran preach hate at the same group of people! that's hectic

      Graziella - 2012-01-19 07:16

      @Jaba Don't forget the Talmudic Deuteronomy! The ancient Hebrews were exceedingly proud of their holocausts having murdered whole nations to the last man and male children, and taking their women as sex slaves.

      LanfearM - 2013-01-05 15:30

      @ jonathon.shuttleworth - yah right, clearly you are the one that has never properly read the bible. @ graziella.mali - very true, the ancient Hebrews were actually notorious for their warlike nature in the ancient near east.

  • Hotkop - 2012-01-18 22:22

    This attitude about Mein Kampf reminds me alot about our government bitching and moaning about apartheid. This attitude is also the reason why young Germans always look down instead of being proud of who they are, like the typical "sins of the fathers" BS like in SA. I bet 90% of the people who complain wasn't even there. It is a piece of history for f%ck sake!

      Jonathon - 2012-01-18 23:06

      My point exactly...

      Jaba - 2012-01-18 23:50

      on the contrary, young Germans are very proud of the Germany that has been created. Germany is heavily invested in Israel and the relationship between Israelis and Germans is second only to the Americans'. Most Israelis would not have a problem with Mein Kampf as long as its not misused, thus the Hebrew publication. I have read Mein Kampf. It portrays perfectly how the final solution came about - economic devastation blamed on one group & the famous 3 stages; you many not live amongst us as Jews, you may not live amongst us, you may not live! - human nature looks for scapegoats in almost every problem we face. and SA...

      Jaba - 2012-01-18 23:50

      Germany of the nineteen thirties was the perfect storm - allot like South Africa's disastrous unemployment and the way Malema speaks to the people blaming their impoverished lives on the white minority - rather than the only people in charge the last 18 years! I believe that there is not much difference between the mentality of Hitler and Malema - both prey on the weak using scapegoats & propaganda; lucky for us, Malema ain't as clever as Hitler and his brainwashing of South Africans may have been avoided. Evil is more dangerous than any one could imagine. Arab leaders have taken allot from the old Nazi propaganda and have turned it into modern day propaganda against Israel, this sort of brainwashing has given the evil leaders of many Arab states much public support using the common hate they have for the Jewish state, the Arab spring as broken this support, however i'm sure that the new leaders of these nations will quickly jump on the bandwagon too. common hate / common interest.

  • Dayaan - 2012-01-18 23:57

    The Jews certainly think that they do have a monopoly upon what happened during WW2. They tend to forget that it is not only the Jews that suffered at the hands of the Nazis, there is also the people that had to wear the purple triangle, Jehovah's Witnesses, they were also persecuted and sent to the concentration camps where more than 6000 of them were killed. But we do not hear them shouting and screaming for compensation or how they were ill treated not just by the Nazis but also by the so-called free world where they were imprisoned for not joining the army in the fight against Nazism The Jews are acting like drama queens or perhaps they just greedy and like to milk the German people for the sins of Hitler and his merry gang, if it was Jehovah's Witnesses that was acting the way the Jews are acting would people still be so sympathetic or what about the Gypsies that got killed off.

      LanfearM - 2013-01-05 15:35

      Yah well, the Jews made certain that nobody forgets. It is a shame really, for today there are plenty of people that don't even know about the non-Jews that were killed in the camps. Hah! The biggest joke is that it was the Russians that started the fresh wave of anti-Semitism at the end of the 19th century, with their fake conspiracy theory ["Protocols of the Elders of Zion"] document but nobody ever condemns them.

  • Dan - 2012-01-19 00:37

    Jaba. Im so glad about your comment. You see you can read Mein kampf, the Koran , the bible or Julius Malema's blabberings , and as an intelligent person you can reject it for the crap it is , thereby exposing the writer for what and who he is . I see you have a very good understanding of how you see throught prejudice of a lot of people , the Arabs, Malema and the majority of SHEEPLE we have in this country . Its because you are intelligent and can read about all views and then make an educated desicion , banning books is not the answer . I have read the Koran , and the bible and frankly they both preach hatred to other people , the only book in my opinion thats a bit worse than these is the book of Lucifer , which doesnt preach hate but pure evil. but still , i had the privilage to read them all and make up my own mind , leaving me a little bit more knowledgeable. Banning books is not the answer . look at wikipedia thats blanked out today because of protest , it leaves us a litttle bit for the worse . Knowledge and and the wisdom that come with it will free people and improve their lives , not censorship.

      Jaba - 2012-01-19 08:29

      I agree but… Bothoth me, you (and many others) can differentiate between racism and economic policy such as in Hitler’s book which is written poorly but with propaganda that speaks to many. Unfortunately in this world most are not educated enough to be able to conclude that the book is just pure evil rather than factual. People like Malema can make use of these books for their own agenda. People who oppose this book are the ones that are scared that this world should not be introduced to such hatred – I don’t agree with this over-protectionist view – but I can not fault them either. To conclude, I am against the book finding its way to your nearest bookshop – but I fully support finding this book on the shelves of universities and educational facilities world wide.

  • Sonnyjakes - 2012-05-04 11:26

    # Graziella, google Grand Mufti Haj Amin al-Husseini and then we can talk again

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