New Delhi: Amazon has reportedly banned the sale of most editions of Adolf Hitler’s autobiography Mein Kampf and other Nazi propaganda books.
According to The Guardian, booksellers were informed that they will not be allowed sell any “Nazi-authored” books, including Hitler’s autobiography and children’s books, that were intended to preach anti-Semitic ideas.
Mein Kampf, which means ‘my struggle’ in German, is a political manifesto written by German dictator Adolf Hitler, which gives insight into his racist ideology identifying Aryans as the “genius” race and Jews as “parasites”. Hitler was the leader of the Nazi Party in Germany and was responsible for murdering more than six million Jews during the Holocaust.
The report maintains that Kindle ebook editions of Mein Kampf as well as Hitler’s author page have been deleted from the website. Other books like The Poisonous Mushroom by Julius Streicher, who was executed for crimes against humanity after running the Nazi Der Stümer newspaper, have also been removed from the website’s listings.
In an email accessed by The Guardian, people selling second hand copies of Mein Kampf were told that “they can no longer offer this book” as it breaks Amazon’s code of conduct.
This ban will impact editions produced by London-based Random House and India’s publishing house Jaico.
After decades of campaigning by Holocaust charities
The move to stop sales of the book comes after years of campaigning by leading Holocaust education charities and Jewish groups. Since 1990s, these charities have been calling for the removal of Nazi propaganda books but Amazon defended the sales citing free speech. The retailer also maintained that students needed to understand Hitler’s thinking.
Last month, Amazon had acknowledged Holocaust Education Trust’s concerns and said it was “mindful of book censorship throughout history” but was taking “concerns from Holocaust Educational Trust seriously”.
In an interactions with the Guardian, an Amazon spokesperson refused to comment on the ban but said, “As a bookseller, we provide customers with access to a variety of viewpoints, including titles that serve an important education role in understanding and preventing antisemitism. All retailers make decisions about what selection they choose to offer and we do not take selection decisions lightly.”
This is not the first time Amazon has banned the sale of far-right books. It banned two books by David Duke, who was a former leader of the white, supremacist group Ku Klux Klan and titles by George Lincoln Rockwell, founder of the American Nazi Party. It also prohibited volumes like ‘The Ruling Elite: The Zionist Seizure of World Power’ by Deanna Spingola and ‘A History of Central Banking and the Enslavement of Mankind’ by Stephen Goodson.
Mein Kampf’s popularity in India
Mein Kampf has enjoyed unusual popularity in India. According to a report, the English edition of the book, published by Jaico, sold over a hundred thousand copies between 2003 and 2010. It has also been translated into Hindi, Gujarati, Malayalam, Tamil and Bengali.
R.H. Sharma, Jaico’s chief editor had said in 2009, “The initial print run of 2,000 copies in 2003 sold out immediately and we knew we had a best-seller on our hands. Since then the numbers have increased every year to around 15,000 copies until last year when we sold 10,000 copies over a six-month period in our Delhi shops”.
In an interview with BBC, Hitler expert Daniel Pick from the University of London revealed that digital versions of Mein Kampf enjoyed great popularity in India.
Pick explained that the digital version provided anonymity to the reader who otherwise would feel uncomfortable reading a hardcopy of a book like this.