“Mein Kampf”—a necessary evil?

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Photo credit/ Kelsey Van Horn

Alex Weidner, Multimedia Editor

Hear me out. When I say that “Mein Kampf” is a necessary evil, I don’t mean it should exist. I don’t mean that what it spawned should have happened. I don’t mean that anything that came about because of Adolf Hitler’s outrageous sentiments should have. But in 2016, 71 years since the end of World War II, it’s necessary to remember those evils.

Since the fall of Nazi Germany, the government of Bavaria held the copyrights to the controversial book, and in January of this year, the rights were relinquished per European copyright law.

A newly annotated version of “Mein Kampf” will be the first edition available in Germany since the end of World War II. According to NBC, this new edition, “strives to understand and put into context its hateful language and ideology.” The new printing contains annotations that seek to shed new light on the atrocious views, educating readers in an effort to diminish anti-Semitic and neo-Nazi ideology.

I hope you’ve caught up to me now. Hitler’s beliefs were evil, and Germany’s laws to suppress neo-Nazism are a grand example of how to deal with the tragedy that was the Holocaust. Uses of Nazi symbolism are outlawed, as are promotion of Nazi ideology. Specifically, Holocaust denial is criminal and wildly inaccurate.

The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum outlines denial and distortion as efforts to say that facts surrounding the magnitude or existence of the Holocaust are either exaggerated or made up. Keeping “Mein Kampf” alive would be an effort to stomp out Holocaust deniers.

The point of the matter is that to say the Holocaust didn’t happen is to erase the history of millions of people. By saying that millions of people didn’t suffer, a world-shaking tragedy is made into a travesty.

Memorials, such as the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and various concentration camp tour locations, exist to remind people of the horrors that were committed against the Jews and those who Hitler deemed unfit for society. “Mein Kampf” should be seen as a reminder of the monstrosity caused by those views, and not as a framework for people to found their own anti-Semitic sentimentalities.

By reprinting Hitler’s original message with annotations intended to explain the evil behind his thoughts and educate readers on why Hitler believed what he did, future generations can understand why the Holocaust happened. Current and future generations need this education to prevent history from repeating itself.

The memory of the Holocaust must be kept alive, with the hope that no such monstrosity happens again, that no people have to live in fear because of their ethnic or religious background, that such crimes against humanity don’t go unpunished.

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