Monday, January 30, 2012

The Mein Kampf Question

The German magazine Zeitungszeugen has backed down from its efforts to reprint portions of Adolph Hitler’s Mein Kampf in order to avoid legal proceedings by the Bavarian government, who holds the copyright. The Bavarian government has blocked all other attempts to print and sell the book in Germany since the end of World War II.

Germany has very strict laws against the display of Nazi symbols and the distribution of texts inciting anti-Semitism and racial hatred. Mein Kampf is not banned outright, copies published before 1945 can be purchased online, through second-hand bookshops, and checked out from libraries.

Zeitungszeugen has previously been accused of attempting to profit from the publication of Nazi propaganda under the pretext of historical interest. The magazine often publishes newspaper sections written from 1933-45 with commentary by modern historians. Source:

The broader issue is when is it okay for governments to engage in censorship?

The Holocaust was one of the most horrific events in human history, but I believe the German people are capable of owning up their national past. This national past includes the publication of Mein Kampf. We can’t get in the business of not publishing material because it may upset people. Doing this would give governments a blank check to ban anything that they find objectionable.

Censorship is the way of totalitarian regimes, Freedom and Ideas belong to democrats.

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