January 18th, 2012
10:00 PM ET

Jewish groups split over reprinting of 'Mein Kampf' excerpts in Germany

By Christopher Cottrell, CNN

BERLIN (CNN) -Jewish groups in Germany and abroad are divided about a British publishing house's intentions to print excerpts of Adolf Hitler's infamous manifesto "Mein Kampf."

Slated to hit the shelves in Germany January 26, it will be the first time that any parts of the book have been reprinted in a newspaper or magazine in that country since the end of World War II.

Alexander Luckow, an adviser to British publisher Peter McGee - the man behind the magazine that will print the excerpts - said the former German dictator's writings would appear directly adjacent to commentaries from renowned historians to ensure that the passages are viewed in context.

"We're convinced that what we're doing is protected under citation laws," Luckow told CNN. "These laws permit citation of 'Mein Kampf,' especially when it is accompanied by historical commentary like we're doing."

Luckow said the weekly Zeitungszeugen magazine - a play on the German words for newspaper and witness - plans to publish three 15-page extracts as supplemental inserts.

According to Israel's Jerusalem Post, the president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, Dieter Graumann, said Tuesday it was preferable for Germans to read annotated excerpts of Hitler's writings in an academic context rather than accessing the unfiltered material online.

"I can truly do without the publication of this hate-filled book that is saturated with anti-Semitism to the core," Graumann told the paper. "(But) if one must actually read it, then it's better in the framework of a critical commentary."

While some historians expressed few qualms with the announcement that parts of the book would be reprinted in Germany, a group representing Holocaust survivors and their families is questioning the value of publishing the excerpts.

"We want to make clear that there is nothing altruistic in the motivation of this publisher," said Elan Steinberg, vice president of the American Gathering of Holocaust Survivors and Their Descendents. "He's out to make a profit."

"There is a reason that the public display of the swastika is illegal in Germany," Steinberg added. "For these same historic and moral reasons, it is offensive to think that kiosks in Berlin will again - 70 years after the end of that evil regime - be selling Hitler's 'Mein Kampf.'"

Hitler wrote the book from prison after his failed Beer Hall Putsch of 1923, outlining his anti-Semitic ideology.

Contrary to popular belief, there is no law in Germany forbidding the publishing of "Mein Kampf," but the Bavarian state government - which owns the publishing copyright - has always blocked reprints.

These rights, however, are set to expire in 2015, which will then allow anyone to publish the entire volume or excerpts. The Institute for Contemporary History in Munich is already preparing a scholarly edition of the book set to come out that year, according to Dr. Edith Raim, who is working on the project.

"There's no reason to prolong the inevitable," Luckow said of McGee's decision to publish the excerpts this month.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Germany • Judaism

soundoff (410 Responses)
  1. Craigers T

    I have a full copy of it on my bookshelf at home. Read it twice. I didn't run out and join a neo-Nasty group. It actually enlightened me to what an absolute lunatic the man was, and I got to read along as he progressed into insanity. People who block this type of history are fools. People who make a fuss about it and fight and kick and scream, only help it sell more. I only bought Satanic Verses by Rushdie because of all of the fuss the Muslims made. Had to see what it was about. Come on. Grow up.

    January 19, 2012 at 1:06 pm |
    • Yodelling Bob, Accountant of the Wild Frontier

      So true. Just like reading the Bible or the Koran or the Book of Mormon is highly unlikely to convert you either. Let's face it, everyone converts to whatever belief before they see the book. If they read the book first, there is no way they would go for it.

      January 19, 2012 at 1:12 pm |
    • HolyChrist

      Bob, if we only had a copy of Bush's "Decision Points" before his election, maybe none of this would've happened.

      January 19, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
  2. dbrock010

    I have read most of this book for research purposes back in college. I can tell you that in this day and age, the revival of this book will not be inspiring the masses. In retrospect it makes the Nazis look like a bunch of mindless sheep. And don't forget, it's not all about the jews. The book was meant to inspire and recapture a dispirited nation after WWI. In addition to genocide, another 6 million were taken out: handicapped along with other ethnic groups. Overall, we should not fear this book. We can learn a lot more by reading books than by burning them.

    January 19, 2012 at 1:06 pm |
  3. Shanika

    Jews are the most racist ethic group in this world, yet they call people anti-semitic when they hate and are against everyone who's not Jewish

    January 19, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
    • HolyChrist

      If you pick any race, gender, religion, political party, etc. you can find a group of them who are racist. It doesn't mean they all are. Haven't we evolved enough to know that stereotyping is counter-productive?

      January 19, 2012 at 1:17 pm |
    • Ironicus

      You need to get out more. There are many other ethnic groups who are dominated by fanatically racist ideologies.
      Or did you forget the KKK, Neo-Nazis, ....and what about other forms of internal racist groups among ethnic Oriental peoples in the East like in China, J.apan, Vietnam, Korea, Myanmar, Thailand, Bali, Laos, aww heck racists are everywhere.

      They are everywhere because racism only needs ignorance and stupidity to exist. Every racist individual lacks intelligence, skepticism, knowledge, and wisdom. They are fools writ large. You are really stupid and uninformed, I guess.

      January 19, 2012 at 1:17 pm |
  4. rod

    He has the freedom to publish it, and we have the freedom to choose if we want to read it or not. Stop crying

    January 19, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
  5. Chris

    Omg we keep hearing about this cr*p all the time..... time to read and watch Fox News instead... at least you never hear them mention about the holocaust

    January 19, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
    • AWOL Dubya

      They're not even aware it happened.

      January 19, 2012 at 1:04 pm |
    • Ironicus

      Neo-Nazis LOVE FoxNews for that and many other reasons. All the bigots and racists I know LOVE Fox News and it is not hard to see why. Racism and bigotry are a BIG part of the GOP, Republican Party, Tea-bag party, Evangelical doctrine, Catholic doctrine, aw heck Christian right-wing crap all of it.

      Fox News is the sanctuary and dissemination center for all Neo-Nazi and racist right-wing propaganda.
      You might as well just shoot yourself and save us the trouble if you thing FoxNews is worthy of belief.

      January 19, 2012 at 1:10 pm |
    • Anatomically Bombed

      If alive today, I think there would be a good chance Hitler would have his own show on FOX...

      January 19, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
  6. Smell_This

    If he's atheist he cannot be Jewish

    January 19, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
    • Anatomically Bombed

      Were you always the kid who raised their hand in class to answer then would blurt out the least intelligent response so that everyone else giggles and points?

      January 19, 2012 at 1:06 pm |
    • Guest

      @ Smell_this. I'm not sure if that is entirely true if not true at all... My friends who identify themselves as Jewish also do not believe in a God. In todays society at least being 'Jewish' is more do it with your mother's family history. Its the same as me, being a U.S. American, to identify myself as Spanish, German, English, Mexican, and 7 other nationalities because my family came from these countries to America.

      January 19, 2012 at 1:15 pm |
  7. atypical

    entering the era of The Nunti Sunya: to equality and oneness for all humanity.

    January 19, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
  8. Atheist Mom

    Can you imagine a world without any Jews? Paradise and freedom!

    January 19, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
    • tokencode

      You disgust me.

      January 19, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
    • AWOL Dubya

      A pity you weren't torched at Waco.

      January 19, 2012 at 1:13 pm |
    • EuphoriCrest

      AM, you give atheists a bad name. I pity your children.

      January 19, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
    • Ironicus

      A world without racism would be much better.

      January 19, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
  9. doresearch

    There is nothing wrong with printing a book or excerpts from a book by a loser like Hitler. Hitler was a loser at everything he put his hand to. He was a failed artist. He was a failed architect. He was a horrible military strategist (opening a second, eastern, front, forcing the German army to steer south to Stalingrad, etc). He was ashamed of the inbreeding, incest and drunkenness among his ancestors to the point that he would not risk having children of his own. Germany could build its military machine only because the Nazis pillaged the treasuries of its neighbors, so that makes Hitler a failed economist, since he could not pull Germany out of its depression via legal means. He was a poor judge of character, surrounding himself with toadies and yes-men, and even in selecting his own chief personal physical (Morrell) he chose a quack. The only thing Hitler was any good at was brainwashing people into hating people they otherwise would not hate and finding scapegoats, which was in its own way Hitler's biggest failure – the one that led to the destruction of 65 major German cities and untold suffering by people throughout Europe. Hitler had no compassion even for Christian Germans. Beginning with his appointment as Chancellor in 1933 he murdered 200,000 German invalids to "purify" the German race. And then he sat safe in his various bunkers and allowed millions of Germans to be killed and injured in Allied bombings which ultimately brought Germany to its knees.

    People buy books about and by other losers. Why not allow them to buy a book by Hitler, one of the greatest losers of our times?

    January 19, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
  10. Jose


    January 19, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
    • YoursIsNoDisgrace

      IIt will be as soon as Romney is elected

      January 19, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
    • EuphoriCrest

      Those who don't care lose their vigilance and will be targeted next. See José, it's already beginning in Arizona and Alabama.

      January 19, 2012 at 1:14 pm |
  11. Grandma

    I'm sick and tired of those zionists who can't shut up and stop shoveling the facking holocaust in our throats and our school children. We don't DA.MN care about it!!! It's over and get over something that happened 60 years ago !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    January 19, 2012 at 12:58 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Like how Christians need to get over the whole crucifiction thing.
      So the Romans tortured a carpenter 2000 years ago!
      Quite whining about it!

      January 19, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
    • AWOL Dubya

      You truly are red-neck trash.

      January 19, 2012 at 1:03 pm |
    • Chris

      Jews did kill Jesus Christ. At least they don't teach about Jesus in public schools of who killed them like they do about the holocaust all the time

      January 19, 2012 at 1:04 pm |
    • What what 4

      Yet you read an article and commented on it. Why?

      January 19, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
    • Jon

      What part of "NEVER AGAIN" do you Jew hating idiots not understand!!! In the past it was easy for you weak, pathetic, people to persecute and slaughter Jews!!! Jews prior to World War 2 did nothing to stop it from happening!!! However, since World War 2, the Jews additude toward you weak, pathetic people has changed!!! The Jews fight back with one thought running through there head, "if I am going down, I will take out as many of you Jew hating people as I possibly can before you take me down!!! Get over that, before you shoot your mouths off!!!

      January 19, 2012 at 1:17 pm |
    • Shovel Ready

      You have as much chance of that happening as....

      1) Blacks whining about slavery 100+ years ago
      2) The South whining about losing the civil war 100+ years ago
      3) Democrats whining about the 2000 election.

      January 19, 2012 at 1:17 pm |
  12. YoursIsNoDisgrace

    Keep it coming anti-semites. My stupid Jewish brothers and sisters must be reminded what they are up against.

    January 19, 2012 at 12:58 pm |
  13. Andrea M

    In context? In context would be printing the entire thing, not just excerpts paired with bits from historians for context. Chances are if you're reading Mein Kampf for it's anti-semitic contents, you were anti-semitic before you opened the cover. Most people however are not reading it for the anti-semitism but instead to shed light on an important time in history. It's not like your average history student is gonna want to run out and start burning synagogues just because he read the book.

    January 19, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
  14. :(


    January 19, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
  15. Polish


    January 19, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
    • Lincoln The Drunk

      Ah, Poland. Bastion of tolerance.

      January 19, 2012 at 12:58 pm |
  16. Lincoln The Drunk

    Ah, 'Mein Kampf'. The book that keeps on giving.

    January 19, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
  17. Shan

    Did you know that Jewish people don't pay taxes.... just to let you know

    January 19, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
    • tokencode

      Did you know bigots are the lowest lifeform on earth?

      January 19, 2012 at 1:06 pm |
    • mlu

      Wow. Ignorance abounds. As a Jew, I pay taxes each and every paycheck.

      January 19, 2012 at 1:13 pm |
  18. realist

    hews arent all bad, but they use the Holocaust to get carte blanche

    January 19, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
    • Lincoln The Drunk

      Just be thankful that you and yours will never share their experience.

      January 19, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
  19. Matthew/NYC

    LOL I work in retail in NYC, the ones' that ask for coupons and beg to lower prices and try to do anything to pay cheaper are the Jewish.... wonder why they are so cheap then all of them are rich and don't pay income taxes or anything ?!

    January 19, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
    • Kat

      U r really stupid – no wonder you work in retail hahaha – blue collar worker!!!!!

      January 19, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
  20. !

    David Silverman, president of American Atheist is Jewish............ He's trying to get rid of the Christian faith in the U.S.

    January 19, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
    • Lincoln The Drunk

      Good for him.

      January 19, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
    • Paul

      An atheist cannot be Jewish.

      January 19, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
    • Atheist Mom

      Yes they could. A person is Jew if he/she is born of a nasty Jewish mother.

      January 19, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
    • Kat

      wow didn't know so many degenerates read the news! ps the reason Jews achieve more than anyone else is only because our mothers are educated woman – the reason you would have such a disrespectful comment is because your mother is the nasty one who doesnt know who your father is!

      January 19, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.