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Belgium allows sale of Mein Kampf as neo-Nazism rises

Jewish organizations here are protesting the government's decision to allow the sale of Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf in bookshops, despite signs of growing neo-Nazi activity in Belgium and elsewhere in Europe.

The sale of about 5,000 copies of the book (in Dutch) will continue following the decision by an Antwerp court earlier this month to ignore pleas from the Dutch and West German governments to have the work banned in Belgium. Both countries forbid the publication or sale of the book.

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The Belgian government argues that publication of the book must be allowed under the country's laws guaranteeing freedom of speech.

Jewish groups worry that a passive attitude in this case could set a dangerous precedent.

Protests against the Belgian government's decision have also come from leading Socialist politicians, representing the country's second-largest party, who have pointed to the apparent rise in neo-Nazi propaganda in some parts of the country.

Not long ago, a paper in Ghent (northwest of Brussels) carried an advertisement announcing an auction of a painting by Hitler and calling it ''a good picture by a world reformer.''

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