France is agog over whether to ban Dieudonné, the comedian who invented the 'quenelle' reverse Nazi salute to give the anti-Semitic finger to decent society.
But why settle for a second-rate knockoff when you can sample the real thing – in the privacy of your home, work cubicle, or airline seat – for under two bucks? That's the going rate for the e-book topping all sales – the unexpurgated versions of Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf – the Fuhrer's very own “how to” manual for exploding Europe while doing away with the Jewish people.
Is this just an inexpensive indulgence in the voyeurism of ultimate evil by young people who don't know better and not a few of their elders who should? Yes, and more.
Hitler's posthumous e-book blitzkrieg does not come out of the blue. It exploits pent-up demand in Germany where print versions have been verboten, but cyberspace again makes a joke of the Maginot Line of censorship laws. The appeal extends across Europe where respected author Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld, offers a statistical analysis that 150 million people harbor serious anti-Semitic and/or “demonic view of Israel.”
“Hitler as Hero” is also increasingly expressed among Muslims and Arabs:
In The Netherlands, Dutch social worker, Mehmet Sahin, a Moslem, was asked to interview troubled youth from his community on national TV. When the discussion got around to Anne Frank and the Holocaust, the Dutch Muslim teens' comments included, “What Hitler did to the Jews is fine with me,” said one, and “Hitler should have killed all the Jews,” smirked another. When Mehmet vowed to do all in his power to dissuade the youngsters from their hate, he was threatened by fellow Muslims and was forced to relocate by Dutch authorities to a tiny village.
Lebanese superstar singer Najwa Karam and a judge on the wildly popular version of American Idol and Arabs Got Talent, told Lebanese TV's Talk of the Town she chose Hitler first among six famous men to create her “ideal man”.
In Turkey, Mein Kampf has been on the best-seller list since 2005.
In Iran – where Ayatollah Khomeini's Holy City of Qom was abuzz during World War II with rumors that the Twelfth Imam has been sent into the world by God in the form of Adolf Hitler, translations of Mein Kampf are widely available in Farsi.
On the West Bank, the Palestinian Authority (PA) refuses to censor an Arabic translation of Mein Kampf and has yet to criticize a Palestinian girl's essay in a youth magazine day dreaming about encounters with role models including a ninth-century Persian mathematician, an Egyptian Nobel laureate, the historic leader Saladin–and Hitler.
In Egypt, Muslim Brotherhood's Spiritual Head Yusuf el-Qaradawi never retracted these words: “Throughout history, Allah has imposed upon the [Jews] who would punish them for their corruption. The last punishment was carried out by Hitler. By means of all the things he did to them – even though they exaggerated this issue – he managed to put them in their place.”
Though the Egyptian military has shut down the Brotherhood, a Cairo boutique named, “Adolf Hitler” with a swastika on its logo is still in business.
“Hitler Chic” extends even to Asia where populations that suffered under Imperial Japan seem unable to connect the dots and empathize with Hitler's victims.
In Thailand – a Buddhist country of 64 million with less than 1000 Jews – there was a disgraceful parade at the exclusive Catholic Sacred Heart Preparatory School in Chiang Mai was led by students who gave the “Sieg Heil” salute carrying Nazi flags, accompanied by mock gun-toting adults.
In Japan, the popular rock group Kishidan appeared on MTV Japan wearing SS-like uniforms.
In India, there was the “Hitler Crossing Café” in Mumbai and a publisher who has a smash best-seller marketing Mein Kampf to grad students as a “must have” example of a highly organized mind.
In South Korea, with its Hitler-themed sports bars, an advertising firm produced a campaign with a Nazi soldier and Hitler symbolizing the “revolutionary” moisturizing and calming effects of a skin lotion.
Meanwhile North Korea's “youthful” leader, Kim Jong-Un reportedly distributed, “a hundred copy” mint edition of a Korean translation of Mein Kampf to high-ranking military officers. This in a regime already using gas chambers to experiment on and murder selected political prisoners and that is incarcerating as many as 200,000 citizens in inhuman forced-labor camps.
In the 21st Century, there is no way for those who apply democratic rules and values to the Internet to ban any book. But e-sellers, large and small, should at least sell only annotated versions of Mein Kampf. Perhaps, there would be some hope that young readers – including all people of color – would come to understand the evil and still potent threat that Hitler and his genocidal ideology pose to the world.
Rabbi Abraham cooper is associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center. Dr. Harold Brackman, a historian, is a consultant to the Simon Wiesenthal Center.