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January 6, 2016 6:02 pm

Israeli Antisemitism Scholar Warns Against Translating Hitler’s ‘Mein Kampf’ Into Hebrew Without Annotations on Use of Themes in Muslim World

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Adolf Hitler. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Adolf Hitler. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Israel-based antisemitism scholar Manfred Gerstenfeld warned Wednesday against frivolous Israeli use of the newly released worldwide rights to the distribution of Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf.

Responding to a query about an Israeli publisher’s belief in the value of translating the work into Hebrew, Gerstenfeld told The Algemeiner that doing so, if at all, should be undertaken with great care.

“A Hebrew edition is desirable only if it is heavily annotated,” he said. “By that I mean that it should not only show how Hitler prepared the Holocaust with this book. It should also illustrate how his ideas developed on the infrastructure created by the Catholic Church and several Protestant denominations over many centuries. Furthermore, it should explain what motifs in Mein Kampf mutated into themes used against Israel, with a particular emphasis on the Muslim world, including the Palestinian territories.”

This is in contrast to the excitement expressed by Idan Zivoni, co-editor of Resling, an academic Israeli publishing house that also translates international books, at the prospect of making Hitler’s infamous tome available to the people whose history was so affected by it.

“It is a national mission to publish the book in Hebrew,” Zivoni said during a Channel 10 talk-show discussion on the topic. “But I believe that few [Israelis] will actually read it.”

He was referring to the sensitive nature in the Jewish state of anything related to the Holocaust, as the country still has a large number – albeit dwindling – of survivors, and many more offspring.

The debate has arisen, due to the January 1 entry of Mein Kampf (“My Struggle”) into the public domain, after 70 years under the auspices of the southern German state of Bavaria, which was given control over the Nazis’ main publishing house by the Allies in 1945, following Hitler’s suicide.

Gerstenfeld, whose book The War of a Million Cuts analyzes the delegitimization of Jews and Israel, also explained that Hitler’s infamous tome has, in fact, been distributed elsewhere.

“Despite the copyright of the state of Bavaria there have been various editions of Mein Kampf in Arabic,” he said. “A few years ago one could even find some copies in London in neighborhoods with large Arab populations. Rifat Bali, an expert on Turkish antisemitism wrote a few years ago that the Turkish translation of Mein Kampf had become a best-seller in the country and could be purchased in some of the largest supermarket chains and bookstores. A few years ago it was reported that it was a bestseller in the Palestinian territories. One extreme antisemitic website lists where one can download Hitler’s book for free on the Internet in various European languages.”

Mein Kampf was written during Hitler’s term in prison, following his attempted putsch. Its first volume was released in July 1925, and its second volume in 1926. It has been translated and distributed in various Western and Middle Eastern countries.

Zivoni said the real reason for its not having been published in Israel has to do with a “silent taboo,” which is “more serious that an official taboo in Israeli society.”

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  • arne normann

    Personally I can not see any walue of the rubbish that criminal man, may have uttered on his way to extinct the jews of Europa, and make the whole world suffer for the madness of one man. If you turn around the words by Churchild, made when England had managed to fight back the nazi regime: “Seldome have one man caused so much brutallity, death and suffering to so many as this man….”

  • It is good that Mein Kampf is being translated into Hebrew. There needs to be a full understanding of what kinds of tragic motivations cause such serious alienation as one finds in Hitler’s political vision.

    The keeping of Nazi ideology in the realm of being a dark void that served only as a repository of hate, and estrangement, should become more of an understood and managed part of history. Keeping the Hitlerite adherents outside and festering, has only served to create a place for incubation of this dangerous and bitter way of seeing the world.

  • No need for translation. Those who want to study the beast/devil and his cronies can read it in English. The Hebrew language is too sacred to include this filth.

  • Israelis are usually very mature and do not need censorship.

    I hope, that the only section of the Israeli population to whom this book might be attractive, certain Jewish ultraorthodox extremists, will reject it.

  • When the protestant and catholic organisations accepted the eugenics of hitler, pastor wohler opposed Him and he was arrested. Moreover the Ceylon pentecostal mission vehemently opposed hitler. Chief pastor, Alwin R de Alwis who was also the cousin of Solomon ridgeway diaz pandaranayka, the prime minister of Sri lanka called Mussolini the anti christ and stooge pope because he gave vatican to pope and gave support to Mussolini and Hitler. they wanted to create united christian europe to which the pentecostals were against and called themselves spiritual zionists. thus it became a doctrine in the pentecostal mission of India and sri lanka. Spiritual zionists do not want a place in the world as the Neturi karta jews want to be the slave of iran

  • Myron Slater

    For an Israeli publishing company to print this book, is an insult to the Jewish people!

  • Translations of Mein Kampf into English have also suffered from lack of care in translating key words. I wrote about confusion regarding Hitler’s blame for “the big lie” here: Of course Hitler and Goebbels had no regard for truth, but Goebbels insisted that “we must simply, not falsify,” such was their regard for the (feminized) masses they were purportedly rescuing from Jewish big liars.

  • “It is a national mission to publish the book in Hebrew…”

    And it would be a waste of valuable time translating that book into Hebrew, as it would become a “worst-seller” in Israel.

  • Mein Kamp should suffer the same fate Hitler faced. BURN it and BURY it!