Outrage in Italy as newspaper offers free copies of Hitler’s Mein Kampf

An Italian newspaper has been slammed for handing out an annotated version of Hitler’s ‘Mein Kampf’ for free with a paid supplement to Saturday’s edition.

Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said on Twitter that Il Giornale’s decision to give away the copies of the Nazi leader’s political treatise was ‘squalid’ and expressed solidarity with Italy’s Jewish community.

But Il Giornale, a centre-right daily owned by the family of former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, said the decision to distribute the edition of the text – which includes critical notes by an Italian historian – aimed ‘to study what is evil to avoid its return’.

Acknowledging the controversy in an editorial, editor-in-chief Alessandro Sallusti said nobody could suspect the move to be an apology for Nazism and the global Jewish conspiracy posited in the book written between 1924 and 1926.

‘The concerns of our friends of the Italian Jewish community, who always have and always will see us by their side … deserve all our respect,’ Sallusti wrote.

Il Giornale on Saturday started selling an eight-volume history of the Third Reich, with the annotated copy of Mein Kampf free for readers who buy the first volume.

A 70-year copyright on Hitler’s book held by the state of Bavaria expired at the end of 2015, prompting Munich’s Institute for Contemporary History to re-issue it as an annotated version earlier this year.

This was done in an effort ‘to thoroughly deconstruct Hitler’s propaganda’.