German Police Seize Educational Reprints of Nazi Newspapers | Germany| News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW | 24.01.2009
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German Police Seize Educational Reprints of Nazi Newspapers

German police have so far confiscated 280 copies of a reprinted Nazi newspaper that appeared in a popular history magazine in Germany, officials in Bavaria said on Saturday, Jan. 24.

Newspapers from the Nazi period

German authorities and historians do not see eye to eye on the value of Nazi reprints

Historians had earlier praised the reprint series, published by Albertas, a British company which offers facsimiles of old newspapers in several European nations. But Bavaria fears the hate-filled propaganda may re-ignite real Nazi fervor in Germany.

Bavaria, where dictator Adolf Hitler once made his home, claims copyright over major Nazi writings and forbids any reprints.

Newsstands say the 75-year-old headlines have sold briskly since they went on sale earlier this month, with Germans scooping up copies of the Voelkischer Beobachter, a vitriolic Nazi Party newspaper, and a Nazi poster showing the Reichstag parliament on fire in 1933.

Stefan Lenzenhuber, a spokesman for the Bavarian Ministry of Justice, said 280 unsold copies had been traced, and police in other states had been requested to seize the reprints.

Prosecuting the publisher

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Nazi reprints were sold at German newspaper stands and advertised in the media

Albertas would be prosecuted for printing and circulating swastikas, which is a criminal offence in Germany, and sued for breach of copyright.

But he said the reprints would not be seized from people who had already bought them, nor would they be prosecuted.

"Owning a copy is not an offence," he said.

Albertas specializes in part-works, which are educational publications sold the same way as magazines.

The series has the title Zeitungszeugen, a made-up word meaning "newspaper witnesses." The reprints come with commentaries which explain the historical context and dissect the Nazis' propaganda tricks.

In a nation where most people under 80 have never seen Nazi propaganda in the raw, the publication has been controversial. Several leading historians of the 20th century have praised the series, but Jewish groups have expressed alarm.

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