ECAJ letter to John Forsyth on the sale of Mein Kampf
To download the ECAJ letter in PDF format, click here.
To download the JCCV Analysis of Dymocks offerings of Mein Kampf in PDF format, click here.
Dear Mr Forsyth
Re: Sale of Mein Kampf
We are writing to you to request that Dymocks book stores cease the sale of certain editions of Mein Kampf, the principal manifesto of the ideology of the German Nazi Party published in two volumes in 1925 and 1926 and authored by its leader, Adolf Hitler. It is based on theories of racial superiority and hatred which have been thoroughly discredited by scientists and other scholars.
As you would no doubt be aware, following the rise to power of Hitler and the Nazis in Germany in 1933, Mein Kampf became their blueprint for waging wars of aggression and genocide throughout Europe. The implementation of the ideology of Nazism, as stated in Mein Kampf, resulted in the deaths of 75 million people and the displacement and injury of hundreds of millions of others between 1933 and 1945.
Most notoriously, antisemitism was (and remains) at the core of Nazism’s racial ideology and was the pretext for the genocide by the Nazi regime of 6 million European Jews, including 1.5 million Jewish children, known as the Holocaust.
As at 1 April 2020, Dymocks stores offered for sale no fewer than sixty editions of Mein Kampf. Please find attached a document prepared by the Jewish Community Council of Victoria, the roof body of the Jewish community in that State, containing an itemised list of each such edition. The document also provides an analysis of the nature of each edition, and the historical and other commentary, if any, which is included in its contents, or associated with its promotion.
You will see from the document that only six of the sixty editions include detailed commentary and annotations from recognised scholars. Another seventeen editions include commentary other than from recognised scholars, orare accompanied by marketing material, such as online descriptions or back cover blurbs, which raise significant concerns. Much of this commentary and marketing material explicitly glorifies the Nazi regime, seeks to sanitise and rehabilitate Nazi ideology (including by downplaying its antisemitic nature and its central role in the Holocaust), or promotes white supremacist, antisemitic or other racist ideologies. In effect, these editions lend themselves as a recruiting tool for neo-Nazi and other racist groups. The remaining thirty-seven editions provide no commentary at all. Significantly, they fail to disclose the history of the implementation of the ideology of Nazism, as stated in Mein Kampf.
Australia is a party to the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, article 4a of which obliges all State parties to “declare an offence punishable by law all dissemination of ideas based on racial superiority or hatred, incitement to racial discrimination, as well as all acts of violence or incitement to such acts against any race or group of persons of another colour or ethnic origin”. The Convention is given partial legislative effect in Australia’s domestic law by the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 (Cth), Part IIA of which prohibits offensive behaviour based on racial hatred.
On 25 February 2020, the Director-General of ASIO Mike Burgess warned about the rapid increase in neo-Nazi activity in Australia. In a wide-ranging address on the security threats currently facing Australia, he said “small cells” of right-wing extremists were regularly gathering to salute Nazi flags, inspect weapons and to disperse their “hateful ideology”. We ask you to consider the use that such groups would make of most of the editions of Mein Kampf that are currently available from Dymocks.
Last month, Amazon banned the sale of most editions of Mein Kampf and other Nazi propaganda books from its store, including children’s books designed to spread antisemitic ideas among young people. Amazon reportedly stated that it could no longer offer Mein Kampf for sale, as the book breaks Amazon’s code of conduct. WHSmith has taken similar action.
We are asking Dymocks stores likewise to cease selling all editions of Mein Kampf which do not contain detailed historical commentary and annotations by recognised scholars.
We look forward to hearing from you.
Peter Wertheim AM