The Citizen (Gauteng)

Hitler’s book ‘poison’

- Rorisang Kgosana

The availabili­ty of the globally shunned Mein Kampf autobiogra­phy of Nazi leader Adolf Hitler in South Africa was similar to spreading poison, as the former German leader’s ideology was “deadly and dangerous”, said a sociologis­t.

The 1925 autobiogra­phy manifesto by the Nazi Party leader, which describes his political ideologies, was available for online sale on Makro, and loot.

The book became the main work for Nazi propaganda and has been banned in several countries since the end of World War II, but some countries republishe­d the manifesto in the recent years for academic purposes.

But the sale of such books spoke of the “tone deafness of capitalism” when it came to marginalis­ed groups, sociologis­t lecturer at University of the Free State Nombulelo Shange said.

During a time of “woke culture” and marginalis­ed groups being able to openly express themselves through social media, it appeared there was some sort of resistance, she said.

Comparing the book to a poisonous substance, she said there was no place for such content in society.

“Through these ideas that Hitler was writing, eventually they came into practice in very real and damaging ways which still have an impact in society even today,” she said.

“I think works like this are poisonous and they don’t have a space at all in our society.”

But the sale of Mein Kampf does include a scholarly overview about the dangers of the book and its ideologies, the South African Jewish Board of Deputies said.

It would, however, be problemati­c should the book be sold without an introducto­ry section contextual­ising it as it would imply its content is being endorsed, said associate director David Saks.

“In this particular case, though, the issue of Mein Kampf on sale does include a preliminar­y scholarly overview that goes into detail about the noxious and dangerous nature of the book and what the ideology it propagated led to.

“As such, it could be said to fulfil a constructi­ve educationa­l function, and hence there are no valid grounds for objecting its sale,” he said.

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