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In Theory: Why are people downloading 'Mein Kampf'?

January 18, 2014

E-books have taken off in a huge way among the iPad- and Kindle-obsessed, but one electronic tome that's topping the charts — both free and paid-for — is Adolf Hitler's "Mein Kampf," the book of political writings by the Nazi leader published before he became dictator of Nazi Germany.

It is currently in the No. 1 spot on Amazon's Propaganda & Political Psychology section. On iTunes there are two versions available.

There are six versions of the book available electronically, and it's also available as a PDF. Chris Faraone, who wrote about its popularity on Vocativ.com, says that, much like "Fifty Shades of Grey," "These are things that people would be embarrassed to read otherwise…Books that people would probably be a bit more embarrassed to read or display or buy in public, they are more than willing to buy on their Kindle, or iPads."

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The book's popularity has angered Jewish leaders. "While the academic study of 'Mein Kampf' is certainly legitimate, the spike in e-book sales likely comes from neo-Nazis and skinheads idolizing the greatest monster in history," World Jewish Congress CEO Robert Singer told ABC News.

Q: Can you think of any reasons why "Mein Kampf" should be such an e-book hit?


I tend to agree with most observers who suggest that this phenomenon can probably be largely attributed to curiosity, but I still feel that some element of anti-Semitism is propelling these sales.

Sadly, demonization of Jews remains commonplace in almost all of the Middle East and even in much of Europe. This anti-Semitic environment often drives people to buy books like "Mein Kampf." It is even more frightening to know that many young people who read Hitler's hate-filled words end up acting on their prejudice. As we have seen all too often, the results lead to harmful crimes against Jews, and sometimes even murder.

Following the Holocaust, the world promised "never again." But since then we have seen the world community fail to prevent genocide in places like Iraq, Bosnia, Cambodia, Rwanda and most recently Sudan. One has to question how much we have really learned from history's painful lessons.

Today, the arch-terrorists of Tehran threaten the Jewish state with annihilation. And barely 70 years after the Holocaust, Hitler — the worst butcher mankind has ever seen — is still idolized by many as some kind of hero.

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