1933 August 18

Jewish Paper Protests American Publication of Hitler’s “Mein Kampf”

 

A Jewish newspaper on this day protested the plan of Houghton Mifflin Co. to publish in the U.S. an English language edition of Mein Kampf, Adolph Hitler’s autobiography. The book would be the first such edition of the Nazi leader’s autobiography in the U. S.

In an article in The American and Jewish Tribune, Louis Rittenberg argued that the publisher was “abetting Hitler propaganda in this country,” and that even “a single paragraph” of the book “is enough to outrage one’s sensibilities.”

The controversy over the publication of Mein Kampf was only the beginning of a long controversy over freedom of speech for Nazis in the U.S. See the original ACLU statement defending freedom of speech for Nazis and other hate groups.

In the 1970s, the question of the right of a small Nazi group to march in Skokie, Illinois, became a major national controversy. The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals finally ruled in favor of the Nazi group in a strongly worded defense of freedom of speech. The Nazi group decided not to exercise their right, and never marched or held a demonstration in Skokie.

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