Fury over Mein Kampf in Swiss bookshops
Anti-racism groups have expressed indignation that Hitler’s book, “Mein Kampf” (“My Struggle”) is freely available in bookstores in the Swiss region of Romandie.
“How can the works on the origin of the Holocaust, written by the instigator of the worst horrors, be found on bookstore shelves?” asked lawyer and Geneva President of the League against Racism and Anti-Semitism, Philippe Kenel.
Yet according to booksellers, there is still demand for the controversial book, which was written by the Nazi leader in the 1920s, before his rise to power. Unlike in Germany, the book is not banned from sale in Switzerland.
“Last year we sold more than 30,” bookseller Frederic Greffet told online news site Le Matin.
“The book is available in any case, whether on order or in stock,” Greffet said. “Customers were asking us regularly. It does not change much whether it is seen or not."
The director of bookshop Payot, Pascal Vandenberghe, said he believed it should be up to the reader to make his or her mind up about its contents and pointed out that there is an eight-page warning at the beginning.
“The duty of the bookseller is not to censor or spread propaganda,” said shop owner, Françoise Berclaz. “This book is part of history. How can we judge and form an opinion on what happened if we do not have access to it? "
A Parisian-based company called New Editions Latina holds the exclusive rights to the French translation, and is reported to have links with the nationalist right. This has led one Geneva bookshop owner, Damien Malfait, to encourage customers not to buy the French version.
“I'm not for censorship, but I inform them that this money will be used for right-wing ideological purposes,” he said.