Italian paper criticised for Mein Kampf giveaway

Il Giornale newspaper is seen on sale in a newsstand with Hitler's "Mein Kampf", in Rome Saturday, June 11, 2016. Image copyright AP
Image caption One Italian Jewish community leader called the giveaway "indecent"

Italian newspaper Il Giornale has come under fire for offering free annotated copies of Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf with one of its supplements.

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi described the decision as "squalid" while others criticised the paper for using the book to increase sales.

The paper argued the move would educate readers about the evils of Nazism.

Hitler published the anti-Semitic manifesto in 1925, eight years before he came to power.

He became military and political leader of Germany from 1933 to 1945, launching World War Two and causing the deaths of millions, including six million Jewish people under Nazi rule.

Mein Kampf hits stores in tense Germany

'Vile act'

Il Giornale sold a history book about Nazi Germany with its Saturday edition, and offered readers who purchased the book a free copy of Mein Kampf.

The editor, Alessandro Sallusti, said (in Italian) that the move would let readers "study what is evil to avoid its return".

"The concerns of our friends of the Italian Jewish community, who always have and always will see us by their side... deserve all our respect," he said.

The newspaper also stressed that the version it was giving away was annotated with critical commentary by an Italian historian.

However, the move was described as "a vile act" by Renzo Gattegna, president of the Union of Italian Jewish Communities.

The giveaway was "indecent" and "light years away from any in-depth learning or study about the Holocaust", Mr Gattegna added.

The copyright of Mein Kampf expired earlier this year. Previously, copyright was held by the regional government in Germany's Bavaria, which banned reprinting of the book.

After the copyright expired, Germany's authorities allowed an annotated, critical version of the book, with academic notes, to be published.

The publication of other editions is restricted in Germany, under incitement laws.

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