Society

Is Mein Kampf Worth Reading?

Italy: Il Giornale newspaper distributes free copies of Hitler’s Mein Kampf

June 14th, 2016
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A rightwing Italian newspaper, owned by former PM Silvio Berlusconi's brother, is giving out free copies of Hitler's book, Mein Kampf. Prime Minister, Matteo Renzi, said on Twitter that Il Giornale's decision was 'squalid' and he expressed solidarity with Italy's Jewish community. Il Giornale’s action was strongly denounced by Italy’s 30,000-strong Jewish community, one of the oldest in Europe, claiming that it represents a “vile and indecent act”.

On Saturday June 11th, Il Giornale began selling an eight-volume history of the Third Reich, with the annotated copy of Mein Kampf free for readers who buy the first volume. The newspaper is now facing harsh criticism and has justified the decision to give away copies of Mein Kampf, stating that is is important ‘to study what is evil [in order] to avoid its return.’ The newspaper director, Alessandro Sallusti, added that the text was being freely distributed alongside the first volume in a series of eight history books on the Nazi Third Reich, which would be sold with the paper: ‘The concerns of our friends of the Italian Jewish community, who always have and always will see us by their side, deserve all our respect.’

However, their choice is being heavily condemned, not only in Italy but also globally. Efraim Zuroff, director of the Israeli office of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, has been quoted telling Corriere della Sera it was unprecedented for a newspaper to use Mein Kampf to boost sales. Alan Friedman, an American journalist who penned the first authorised biography of Silvio Berlusconi, branded Il Giornale's campaign as ‘regrettable’.

Mein Kampf went on sale in Germany this year for the first time in 70 years, after the copyright on the book expired on Jan 1st. The book has been selling out instantly. Indeed, Il Giornale’s decision can be seen as a mere marketing ploy. However, reading the volume can be useful for understanding that the emotional centre of the far right has it’s roots in fear, in particular the fear of being weak. It is the sense of inferiority, which often drives men to dominate others through terror. It is a compelling read, to see the impact that one misguided person can have on their time. This is something that we need to acknowledge now more that ever.

References

Cultural Diplomacy News
Jessica Sama, CD News