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Czech court acquits editor, publisher of Hitler's speeches of approving genocide

Brno, 10.9.2014 23:18, (ROMEA)
The cover for the Czech publication called
The cover for the Czech publication called "Adolf Hitler: Speeches". (Collage:

Today the Municipal Court in Brno acquitted Pavel Kamas and Lukáš Novák, the owners of the Guidemedia publishing house, and publicist Stanislav Beer of approving genocide by publishing a book entitled "Adolf Hitler: Speeches" (Adolf Hitler: Projevy). The court found that publishing the book did not constitute a crime.

The indictment saw the book as promoting Nazism, a crime for which the defendants faced up to 10 years in prison. According to several experts, the book is problematic because it does not contextualize Hitler's ideas.

Presiding Judge Martin Hrabal said the court had familiarized itself in detail with the publication and sought an answer to the question of whether the commentary on Hitler's speeches published by Beer in the book constituted agreement with those speeches. "From the content side it is difficult to draw such an inference," the judge said.  

Hrabal noted that in the preface to the book, which features 18 speeches by the Nazi dictator in Czech translation, the editors say they do not intend to evaluate Hitler's ideas at all and are presenting them to readers in their authentic form. State prosecutor Jan Petrásek is taking to time to consider an appeal.

Any such appeal would be lodged with the Brno Regional Court. The defendants left the courtroom today obviously satisfied.

"I presumed this would be the ruling. Even the average educated orangutan understands that something like this [indictment] had no chance," Kamas told the Czech News Agency.  

The publisher noted that the publication was released in 2012 in a print run of 10 000. It was sold only online, and this May the publishing house produced more copies.

Kamas has not specified how many copies Guidemedia has sold. In his view, today's verdict means the editors of the publication can "step on the gas and get ready for a second edition."

During the past few weeks the company has also released a book called "The NSDAP Program" (Program NSDAP), which summarizes the main political ideas of Hiter's Nazi Party. The publishers make no secret of the fact that "Hitler sells well and is a more suggestive brand than Coca-Cola".  

The publishers also say criticism of Hitler and his ideas was intentionally missing from their commentaries on his speeches so readers can form their own opinions. The prosecution argued that the book celebrates the dictator and promotes the ideas of National Socialism, specifically through opinions and thoughts included therein about the alleged oppression of the ethnic German population of Czechoslovakia, and that it includes a critique of so-called "international Jewry".      

The publisher of Hitler's book "Mein Kampf" (Můj boj) in Czech translation has also been prosecuted. He was first given a suspended sentence, but in March 2005 the Supreme Court ultimately acquitted him.  

Defense attorneys for Guidemedia argued that the prosecution of the publishing of Hitler's speeches was an analogous dispute to that previous case. However, the prosecutor argued that unlike "Adolf Hitler: Speeches", the Czech edition of "Mein Kampf" was published without any commentary whatsoever, i.e., as an authentic document.

ČTK, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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