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Former ADL Chief Foxman Criticizes ‘Hyped’ Polish-Language Edition of Hitler’s ‘Mein Kampf’

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A customer holds a Polish copy of Adolf Hitler’s ‘Mein Kampf’ at a bookstore in Wroclaw, Feb. 23, 2005. Photo: Reuters / Pierre Logwin PA / WS.

The recent publication of a new Polish-language edition of Adolf Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” was sharply criticized by a prominent US Jewish leader and Holocaust survivor in an interview with a leading Polish news outlet on Wednesday.

Abraham Foxman — the national director emeritus of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) who survived the Holocaust in Poland as a child in hiding — told the Polish website Onet that publishing Hitler’s tract, written while the Nazi leader was imprisoned in Germany in 1925, was always a risky undertaking.

“This is a hateful book with an explosive nature,” Foxman said. “It should be published really sporadically and weighing all possible consequences, especially negative ones.”

The editor of the Polish edition insisted last week that its publication was intended to commemorate and respect the victims of the Nazis.

“According to the critics, the publication of this book is an offense to the victims of Nazism. In my view, it is the opposite,” Eugeniusz Krol, a historian who spent three years preparing the Polish edition, told the news agency AFP.

That argument cut little ice with Foxman, who dismissed the notion that its publisher intended to respect Hitler’s victims.

“As one of those victims who miraculously survived [thanks to] Bronisława Kurpi — a heroic Polish Catholic woman whose memory I will carry in my heart until the end of my days — I really ‘thank you’ for this kind of respect,” Foxman told interviewer Waldemar Piasecki.

Foxman also rejected the argument that the high cover price of the Polish edition meant that it would be purchased primarily by academic institutions, and not accessed by the wider public.

“The presence of the book in the Polish media, its presentation and promotion on television, radio and press as well as on internet portals doesn’t indicate that it has a low profile — quite the opposite,” said Foxman.

“Source editions [of ‘Mein Kampf’] for historians and educators appear much more discreetly and without such media hype,” Foxman pointed out.

He added that Poles did not need to study Mein Kampf to understand the evils of Nazism.

“The Polish nation tragically experienced this evil itself,” Foxman said.

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