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Sales of Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” suspended

December 15, 1996

BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) _ A decision by prosecutors to suspend retail sales of Adolf Hitler’s ``Mein Kampf″ has sparked debate here over protecting free speech vs. limiting viewpoints some consider offensive.

Budapest prosecutors suspended sales of a new translation of the anti-Semitic treatise on Nov. 22.

The publisher, the Isle of Man-based Interseas Editions, plans to appeal the order, claiming the book is of historical value and should be available to readers, the Nepszabadsag newspaper reported in its weekend edition.

Hungary’s Jewish Community _ the largest in Central Europe, numbering 80,000 _ is divided on the suspension. Prior to World War II, there were nearly one million Jews in Hungary. About 90 percent of them were killed in the Holocaust.

The Nazi dictator’s highly anti-Semitic treatise outlining his strategies for world domination was banned after World War II.

The new Hungarian translation is by Aron Monus, a Hungarian emigre who returned from France after 1989 and had previous anti-Semitic writings of his own banned in 1991. He later won an appeal on the basis of freedom of speech.

Two thousand copies of the new translation, published in October, have been sold, largely through a book club associated with the right-wing weekly Demokrata.

Peter Feldmayer, head of Hungary’s Jewish Community, said he appealed to the district attorney’s office to have the book banned on behalf of the community.

``We felt that if Hitler’s book can be published, then anything goes,″ Feldmayer told The Associated Press.

Younger Jews, however, worry over the right to free expression.

``As a Hungarian citizen and as a Jew I take exception to (officials) ... deciding for me what I would consider to be a violation of my personal rights,″ Laszlo Seres, a young writer and political commentator wrote in the daily Nepszava on Saturday. ``I would not like to live in a country where the authorities can ban a book whenever they like.″

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