Amazon bans sale of ‘Mein Kampf’
A month after Amazon removed several white nationalist and anti-Semitic items from its website, the online retailer has stopped selling a most editions of the most notorious anti-Semitic screed of the 20th century: Adolf Hitler’s “Mein Kampf.”
The move comes after a decades-long push by Holocaust memorial organizations, The Guardian reported. Amazon alerted booksellers of the change just a few days ago; those selling the book secondhand received emails stating “they can no longer offer this book” as it violates the site’s code of conduct.
This is a reversal for Amazon, which permitted “Mein Kampf” to be sold on its platform even after removing books like former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard David Duke’s “My Awakening: A Path to Racial Understanding” and Louis Farrakhan’s “The Secret Relationship Between Blacks and Jews” in a push to eliminate hateful content.
The ban affects some major editions of Hitler’s manifesto, which he wrote during his imprisonment in Munich following his failed Beer Hall Putsch in 1923, including editions produced by established publishers like Random House. But at least for now, the 2016 annotated German edition, Germany’s first printing of the book since World War II, remains on the site. So does a 1998 Houghton Mifflin English edition of “Mein Kampf” translated by Ralph Manheim.
Holocaust educators and Jewish groups have been urging Amazon to stop its sales of the book since the late 1990s, The Guardian noted, adding that the company had defended its sale of “Mein Kampf” on the grounds of free speech. The company also argued that the book provided crucial context for students in understanding how Hitler developed his anti-Semitic ideas.
Last month, following uproar over Amazon Prime’s Nazi-hunting series “Hunters,” for the show’s taking liberties with the facts of the Holocaust, the Holocaust Education Trust and the Auschwitz Memorial Museum called attention to books containing Nazi propaganda on Amazon’s platform and asked for their immediate removal. Amazon later removed some of the titles in question. “As a bookseller, we provide customers with access to a variety of viewpoints, including titles that serve an important educational role in understanding and preventing anti-Semitism,” an Amazon spokesperson told the Forward. “All retailers make decisions about what selection they choose to offer and we do not take selection decisions lightly.”
Marcy Oster of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency contributed reporting to this post.