BERLIN (JTA) — A Jewish organization in Germany is suing the German version of Amazon for hate crimes over the sale of books that it says have banned content.
At issue are some 50 titles that push anti-Semitism, downplay National Socialist crimes and deny the Holocaust, according to the German office of the American Jewish Committee, which filed its suit Friday with the state prosecutor in Munich.
Deidre Berger, AJC’s Germany director, said in a public statement that the failure to act against the sale of such material undermined German law. The titles were uncovered during research in July, but an AJC spokesperson said the company has received complaints from private individuals and political leaders for years.
Berger urged Amazon.de to "take action and remove the illegal books from its catalog immediately."
Among the books found in the Amazon.de catalog are publications from the right-wing extremist National Democratic Party of Germany, and books that deny or relativize the Holocaust by such writers as Wilhelm Stäglich, Germar Rudolf, Udo Walendy, Jürgen Graf and Carlo Mattogno.
Applauding the move by AJC, Member of Parliament Sebastian Edathy, head of the Bundestag’s interior affairs committee, said it was "shocking that an international book dealership is not prepared to remove books that stir up anti-Semitism and undermine the democratic consensus."
An Amazon.de spokeswoman, according to a report from the German public broadcaster Deutsche Welle, said the books to which the AJC objected are not banned in Germany.
The spokeswoman also said the company has tightened its rules regarding the sale of books that glorify or trivialize the Nazis, but did not plan to remove any books currently for sale.
"We believe that the correct answer to controversial literature is not to ban it but to engage in discussion over the controversy," she told Deutsche Welle.