24 jan. 2009

New old "Nazi News"


A German magazine published Thursday featured reprints of a Nazi newspaper, including stories about the 1933 Reichstag fire and a column by Joseph Goebbels. Bavaria, which owns the copyright to the texts, is threatening criminal and civil proceedings to stop further reproductions.

Reprinting original Nazi texts is always controversial in Germany -- the original text of Adolf Hitler's "Mein Kampf," for example, cannot be printed here because its copyright is held by the state of Bavaria, which quickly gets litigious if anyone attempts to reproduce the work. Now a new magazine has run into trouble for reprinting Nazi newspapers.

The Bavarian Finance Ministry announced Thursday that it will file a complaint against the magazine Zeitungszeugen over its decision to reprint the Nazi newspaper Völkischer Beobachter in its second issue. The ministry also said that it would launch civil proceedings against the newspaper to stop it from further reprints.

The ministry owns the copyright to publications by the Nazi publishing house Eher-Verlag, which include National Socialist newspapers such as the Völkischer Beobachter and Der Angriff as well as "Mein Kampf," and has refused to allow reproduction of the titles. It justifies its decision by arguing that straightforward reprints without critical remarks could be used by neo-Nazis for propaganda purposes. Germany's influential Central Council of Jews has also condemned the republication of the Nazi papers by Zeitungszeugen.

Zeitungszeugen -- the name consists of the German words for "newspaper" and "witnesses" -- is a new magazine published in Germany by the British historian and publisher Peter McGee which plans to reprint newspapers from the years 1933-1945 in chronological order as a historical resource. The newspaper pages are included as separate facsimiles in the magazine, which also features historical analysis and expert commentary on the material. As well as the controversial Nazi newspapers, the magazine, whose first issue went to press on Jan. 7, is reprinting newspapers from all parts of the political spectrum, including communist and social democratic papers.

Zeitungszeugen's editor-in-chief Sandra Paweronschitz told the Associated Press that the magazine would press on with its plans and wait to see how the courts decide. "We will certainly not back down now," she said.

The Bavarian Finance Ministry and Zeitungszeugen have been at loggerheads for some time now. The ministry tried to get the newspaper's first issue, which included material from Der Angriff, withdrawn from sale and demanded that McGee's publishing house Albertas Limited commit itself to not publishing any more of the Nazi texts. The publisher refused to oblige, however, and disputed whether the Bavarian Finance Ministry actually holds the rights to the newspapers in question.

Source: Der Spiegel

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