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Do Asian readers know about the anti-Semitism in 'Mein Kampf'?

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David Guttenfelder/AP

(Read caption) Kim Jong Un has reportedly given copies of 'Mein Kampf' to North Korean state officials as gifts.

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The latest "it" book in some Asian countries is evidence of a startling new trend: growing interest in “Mein Kampf,” Adolf Hitler’s anti-Semitic Nazi manifesto.

Hitler’s autobiography is gaining popularity in North Korea and India, where fans appear to be relatively unaware of its anti-Semitic message and instead embrace the book for other reasons. The news, coming on the heels of German efforts to republish the anti-Semitic autobiography early last year, has revived debates about balancing freedom of speech and of the press with efforts to restrict hateful speech.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un gave state officials copies of “Mein Kampf” as gifts on his birthday last January, according to a report in New Focus International, a newspaper run by North Korean defectors. “It seems the book was intended to promote a study of Hitler’s economic reforms, and was not necessarily meant as an endorsement of Nazism,” reports NPR.


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