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Thursday, 23 March, 2000, 22:05 GMT
Protest at Czech Mein Kampf
This version has no notes mentioning the Holocaust
This version has no notes mentioning the Holocaust
By Ray Furlong in Prague

A Czech publisher has refused to stop publication of Adolf Hitler's book, Mein Kampf, saying that people have the right to know what it says.

Michal Zitko made his statement at a press conference following a wave of criticism at the release of the book.

It has provoked moral outrage in Prague, and now the German authorities also say they are examining the case - a move which could herald a legal challenge.


Source material of fascism
Source material of fascism
The book, although banned in Germany and Austria, is freely available in many other European countries.

But this version comes without any historical annotations putting it in the context or mentioning the Holocaust.

The Czech Jewish community has threatened a lawsuit, while human rights groups and politicians have condemned what they call propagation of fascism.

Mr Zitko, has hit back, saying his idea is to present historical source material, and that he is also planning a version of Karl Marx's Das Kapital to show two sides of totalitarian thinking.

He said people had the right to know, and added that he had rejected an appeal by the German embassy to stop distribution.

Meanwhile, in Berlin, the German Foreign Ministry said it had received a request from the Bavarian Ministry of Finance to examine the affair.

The Bavarian ministry owns the international copyright to Mein Kampf, and is expected by some to try to stop this publication of it.

The Czech police have also started investigating whether the book breaks a Czech law on promoting non-democratic ideologies, although lawyers quoted in the local media have said the chances of a successful prosecution are slim.

This edition of the book is a print run of just 6,000 copies, and Mr Zitko said he did not expect to make a profit.

But the controversy surrounding its release, may end up boosting sales.

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