TEL AVIV – A survey by Italy’s Education Ministry showed that students at Italian high schools all over the country included Nazi leader Adolf Hitler’s manifesto Mein Kampf in their list of their top ten favorite books.
Alessandro Fusacchia from the Education Ministry said the choice was a “particularly nasty case,” The Local reported. He added that the vote was not counted since students had been asked to pick from books by Italian authors that were published after 2000.
“We are looking into it, but we are convinced that it was not a bad interpretation of the request, but rather a free choice,” he said.
Mein Kampf – translated as “My Struggle” – details Hitler’s anti-Semitism and worldview that led him to perpetrate the murder of six million Jews in the Holocaust.
In June, Italian rightwing newspaper Il Giornale faced an outcry after it distributed free copies of an annotated version of Mein Kampf.
The paper, which is owned by Paolo Berlusconi, the brother of former premier Silvio Berlusconi, justified the move by saying, “know evil in order to reject it.”
Efraim Zuroff, director of the Israeli office of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, said it was unprecedented for a newspaper to use Mein Kampf to boost sales.
Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi slammed the initiative on Twitter, writing: “I find it sordid that an Italian daily is giving away Hitler’s Mein Kampf. I embrace the Jewish community with affection. #neveragain”
A 70-year-old copyright on Mein Kampf held by the German state of Bavaria expired at the end of last year, prompting the publication of a 2,000-page, two-volume annotated version of Mein Kampf by Munich’s Institute for Contemporary History in order to “thoroughly deconstruct Hitler’s propaganda in a lasting manner.”