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Jewish group complains over sale of hate books online

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Web posted on: Tuesday, August 10, 1999 4:09:41 PM

(CNN) -- The Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center says it has asked the German Justice Ministry to investigate whether Barnesandnoble.com and Amazon.com, America's two largest Internet booksellers, have illegally shipped hate literature to Germany, including "The Turner Diaries" and Adolf Hitler's "Mein Kampf."

The center has written to the booksellers saying they hope and expect the firms will move quickly to ensure they do not inadvertently emerge as a major "purveyor of hate" in Germany. Those letters went to the German-based Bertelsmann company, which owns 50 percent of Barnesandnoble.com, and to Amazon.com.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center is a Los Angeles-based international organization for Holocaust remembrance, the defense of human rights and the Jewish people.

Barnesandnoble.com and Amazon.com representatives were not immediately available for comment.

According to letters addressed to the booksellers, which were posted on the Simon Wiesenthal Center Web site, a researcher for the center in Germany ordered from the Internet booksellers copies of "Mein Kampf," "The Protocols for the Elders of Zion," "The Turner Diaries" and "Hunter."

In describing "Protocols," the center wrote that it has "been labeled a warrant for genocide and has been used by antisemites to spread their violent and hateful venom throughout the 20th century." "The Turner Diaries" served as a model for Timothy McVeigh's terrorist attack in Oklahoma City, the letters say, and "Hunter" attacks minorities and homosexuals.

In the letters, Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, notes that in 1995 a U.S. citizen was convicted and jailed in Germany "for distributing illegal propaganda and for encouraging racial hatred."

In a letter to the German justice minister, Cooper said the books were "sent directly to the homes of the customers thereby circumventing the German laws regarding these publications."

"Mein Kampf" and "Protocol" are both banned in Germany, Cooper said.

In a statement Monday the center said it had received confirmation from the ministry that it was investigating the two Internet retailers.


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