Furor over publishing Hitler's Mein Kampf divides Albanians


Opinions differ over whether one of the most controversial 20th century books, Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf, should be banned.

By Muhamet Brajshori for Southeast European Times in Pristina -- 31/03/12


Adolf Hitler's book is available throughout the region, but some Albanians argue it should be banned. [Reuters]

The publishing and distribution of Adolf Hitler's book Mein Kampf in Albania caused a storm of reactions and is sparking a debate whether the book should be available to the public.

Mein Kampf is banned in some countries, including Germany, where the state of Bavaria has copyrighted the book.

Many scholars in Albania -- and in Kosovo -- oppose publishing the book, which has incited hate and terror, causing millions of deaths.

"I am well aware of freedom of expression and that in our times everything gets published. But this book should not be published," Dritero Agolli, former head of the Albanian Writers and Artists League, said.

The Albanian government fined the publisher -- Belina H Pubishing -- 750 euros for a copyright violation and Albania's Ministry of Culture took it to court, but the authorities have not sought a court order to confiscate the book.

Tirana libraries report the readers' interest is so great that many subscribed before the book was released. "Initially, I did not want to sell the book, given who the author is, but when people repeatedly asked me to secure it, I began to sell it," Dhimiter Kaciu, a book seller in Tirana, told SETimes.

Kaciu said the book sells for 16 euros, considerably less than in other countries in the region. The book has been published throughout the Balkans and is available to be purchased or read in libraries. A copy in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina costs 55 euros.

Blogger opinions are divided.

Some, like Marina, who invoked freedom of expression, said the book should not be prohibited. "I waited long for the publication of Mein Kampf. There is no need to prohibit it based on the reasoning that it motivates hate. There are many other forms in Albania that motivate hate."

On the other hand, bloggers like Gezim said the book should not have been published to begin with, but now that it is, it should be removed. "If a book by Slobodan Milosevic is published in which he writes his ideas about eliminating the Albanians, would it be right to publish it?"

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Gezim concludes that the people like Hitler, who are responsible for the deaths of many people, do not merit attention. "Those people need to be remembered as barbarians and nothing more," he said.

Some, like Luli, argued for publishing the book to better understand the totalitarian ideology that leads people to do evil. "Every peaceful person should read the book because it is an ideological guide for the national socialists. This is a book which brought many pain and deaths. I do not believe the books will [negatively] influence an educated person," he said.

Milva Ikonomi argues the book's content is not likely to influence Albanian readers. "I do not think that censorship of publications is a good thing. But I doubt that even with translation of this book will be an influence among the Albanian public."

Diana Culli disagreed, arguing against the book's publication on moral grounds. "There is a moral limit regarding the spread of the evil and horror, and that precisely in this case is completely without borders," she said.

This content was commissioned for SETimes.com.
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