July 8, 2014
Letters to the Editor
The New York Times
To the Editor:
Re “Should Germans Read ‘Mein Kampf’?,” by Peter Ross Range (Op-Ed, July 8):
Let’s not forget that book burnings and the banning of ideas that ran contrary to the Nazi Party line were a regular feature of the Third Reich in the years leading up to World War II. There was good reason for this.
Hitler and his co-agitators realized early on the sheer power of ideas, words, iconoclasm and propaganda. In the period before the war, they put words to devastating use while at the same time dealing harshly with dissent.
“Mein Kampf” was the blueprint for the extermination of six million Jews and millions of others in the Holocaust. It is therefore an essential document to help Germans understand their history, even at the risk that neo-Nazis and haters could also use the book to promote a sinister agenda.
Hitler’s manifesto should continue to be published for its value to historians, academics and students of World War II and Holocaust history. But reprints should be done responsibly, with an introduction and annotation where appropriate, explaining the historical context and effect of the thinking behind Hitler’s words and actions.
Abraham H. Foxman