Nearly nine decades after Mein Kampf was first published, it is ranking high on e-reader lists, Chris Faraone reports on Vocativ.com.
Adolf Hiter’s manifesto is No. 1 on Amazon’s list of propaganda and political psychology books. And two digital versions have recently climbed as high as 12th and 15th on iTunes’ politics and current events list.
“Sales are great,” says Michael Ford, publisher of a 99-cent version.
Faraone compares the popularity of the anti-Semitic work to the lure of smut and trashy romance novels; without the book cover advertising what you’re reading, it’s easier to consume the forbidden on Kindles, iPads and smartphones, he says.
The proliferation of e-readers helps create a conundrum in Germany where new editions of the book have been banned since the end of World War II. A German, of course, doesn’t need to leave the country to download an e-version in seconds.
Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles tells Fox News that only annotated editions of Hitler’s screed should be sold, but that the book should not be banned.
“We know that the facts of life are that you cannot censor any idea from the Internet, it’s simply impossible,” Cooper says. “But an annotated version is important for someone who doesn’t know the context of the time and so that they’re not reading pure genocidal hate.”
Some lawmakers in Israel, however, are taking a different approach to freedom of speech.
The Ministerial Committee for Legislation this week threw its support behind a bill that would ban the word “Nazi” except “for purposes of study, documentation, scientific work or historical reporting.”
The problem, some in the Jewish state say, is the way the word is being tossed around and used as a slur. Dov Lipman, a rabbi and a centrist lawmaker who is a sponsor of the bill, tells the New York Times that he knows what it’s like to be called a “Nazi” by protesters.
The Israelis who wrote the measure have become concerned by “the intolerable ease with which daily use is made of these terms as part of the public and political discourse, with overt disregard for the feelings of Holocaust survivors and their descendants.” They find the situation “deplorable.”
Some commentators in Israel have balked at the notion of a ban. “No more Soup Nazi?” teases Seth J. Frantzman in a Jerusalem Post column. He notes that under the new law, Israeli television would end up bleeping the word a dozen times from the classic “Seinfeld” episode. Civility, he argues, can’t be legislated.
If the bill passes, using any Third Reich slur or symbol could land you in jail for six months or fine you as much as $29,000, the Times reports.