Amsterdam Gallery Owner Charged for Selling Hitler’s Book

June 21, 2014  

An Amsterdam antiques gallery owner has been charged with putting up for sale a copy of Hitler’s “Mein Kampf”, banned in the Netherlands, AFP reports.

Prosecutors have charged gallery owner Michiel van Eyck with inciting racial hatred and discrimination following a complaint from a Jewish group last year, the report said.

“Police issued him with a subpoena to appear in court on August 26,” the Dutch prosecutor’s office said in a statement.

The decision comes after an eight-month investigation, with prosecutors saying Van Eyck planned to sell the 1944-45 edition for profit, not for “scientific or journalistic reasons.”

“The defendant stated he knew that there were statements in the book that insulted Jews and incited hatred, discrimination and violence against them,” prosecutors said.

Van Eyck told AFP his Totalitarian Art Gallery specialized in selling objects from oppressive regimes in history and also included artifacts from the eras of Russia’s Stalin and China’s Mao.

“I have a shop here that specializes in historical objects, so I also sell books like Anne Frank’s diary, the Bible, statues of Lenin and Marx and other historical figures,” he added.

“In this context I also sell the book ‘Mein Kampf’,” Van Eyck said, adding, “It has nothing to do with being pro-Nazi or anything like that. I sell historical objects and I feel that I should be able to sell the book. It’s no use hiding the past away.”

Esther Voet, director of the Netherlands’ Center for Information and Documentation of Israel called the sale a “cheap publicity stunt.”

“We won’t give him any platform, therefore we will not comment on the issue,” she told AFP.

Under Dutch law, the sale of “Mein Kampf” was banned in 1974 because the blueprint for the rise of Nazism and Jewish Holocaust promoted hatred and discrimination.

If convicted, Van Eyck faces up to six months in jail or a 7,600 euro ($10,300) fine.

Six years ago a lifting of the ban was narrowly turned down by Dutch parliament after an education minister said it should be freely available.

Last month, French auction house Pierre Bergé Associés withdrew from sale a rare first edition of Mein Kampf following a protest from a Jewish watchdog body.

The copy had been predicted to fetch between 3,000 and 4,000 euros ($4,200-$5,600) as part of a scheduled May 16 sale of a library of crime-related works owned by Philippe Zoummeroff, a retired industrialist.

Previously, another French auction house had cancelled a planned sale of some 40 objects belonging to Hitler or his henchman Hermann Goering following intervention by France’s culture minister.

Two copies of Mein Kampf which had been signed by Hitler were controversially auctioned in Los Angeles earlier this year and sold for nearly $65,000. The hate-filled text also recently became an bestseller. 

(Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)

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