The Citizen (Gauteng)
Hitler’s book ‘poison’
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, takealot.com and loot. co.za.
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.