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German leader urges new ‘Mein Kampf

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Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” should be released in Germany, says a German Jewish leader.

Stephan Kramer, the secretary general of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, has urged that a
critically annotated edition be issued online of Hitler’s diatribe, which has been banned in Germany since 1945.

Kramer told Deutschlandfunk Radio that the Central Council would work on such an annotation, even for an Internet publication, of the volume Hitler wrote in prison in 1924. The book became a staple of the Nazi movement and was a required wedding gift. Today it is available on the Internet, but virtually only from far-right and Islamic extremist groups outside Germany.

This periodically resurfacing suggestion generates hot debate in Germany, where it is common to ban symbols of National Socialism and where hate material published in the German language on the Internet has been seen by many officials as a dangerous breach of that ban.

Many see “Mein Kampf,” with its anti-Semitic rantings, as a danger.

“The question is to what extent do you have to be tolerant of intolerance,” Levi Salomon, the newly appointed representative on matters related to anti-Semitism for the Jewish Community of Berlin, told JTA.

Hitler left the reprinting rights to the state of Bavaria, which has used its copyright to ban publication in Germany and to prevent publication in countries such as Sweden, Croatia and Turkey.

The copyright, which expires in 2015, does not affect the United Kingdom and the United States. Critics have argued that, under European Union regulations, no one should be liable for owning a book that is legal in any member country.

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