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Top German Mag Yanks 'Anti-Semitic' Book From Bestseller List

Image: Top German Mag Yanks 'Anti-Semitic' Book From Bestseller List
(Photo by Steven May/Alamy via The Guardian)

By    |   Friday, 28 Jul 2017 03:10 PM

A bestselling book that discusses how Germany dealt with the Holocaust has been yanked from the bestseller list of Der Spiegel after the influential news magazine determined it was "anti-Semitic and historically revisionist."

"Finis Germania," which means "The End of Germany" in English, is a collection of essays by historian and social scientist Rolf Peter Sieferle, who committed suicide last September at the age of 67. It has caused an uproar throughout Germany.

The book shot to the top of the bestseller list of Amazon's German site, but Der Spiegel pulled it from its own list because the magazine's brass found it "rightwing extremist, anti-Semitic and historically revisionist," deputy editor Susanne Beyer told The Guardian.

Deutsche Welle, Germany's international broadcaster, says the book "includes a part that deals with the Holocaust, putting it alongside a series of other major crimes of the 20th century. The author also uses the expression 'the myth of Auschwitz.'

"Experts have therefore been debating Sieferle's anti-Semitism and whether his writings relativize — or even deny — the mass extermination of Jews that took place at the Auschwitz concentration camp."

In one passage, Sieferle writes: "In every city Christianity had built cathedrals to its murdered God. Today, the Jews, to whom God himself had promised eternity, build memorials throughout the world to their murdered coreligionists … Not only are the victims ascribed a moral superiority, the wrongdoers and their symbols are ascribed an eternal depravity."

Der Spiegel's decision has angered English PEN, an international literary and human rights group.

"This is an embarrassing move for Der Spiegel. The publication of the ranking of bestselling titles is surely a statement of fact," Jo Glanville, director of PEN America, told the Guardian. "This omission risks undermining the magazine's authority and reputation. Censorship can never be a successful tool for tackling the far right."

Der Spiegel, published in Hamburg, has a with a weekly circulation of 840,000. The controversy has certainly helped the book, which is published by Antaios.

Christopher Caldwell, a senior editor at The Weekly Standard, wrote earlier this month in The New York Times: "When the German literary establishment unanimously denounced Mr. Sieferle's work as an extremist tract, readers did not nod in agreement. They pulled out their wallets and said, "That must be the book for me." This is a sign that distrust of authority in Germany has reached worrisome levels, possibly American ones."

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A bestselling book that discusses how Germany dealt with the Holocaust has been yanked from the bestseller list of Der Spiegel after the influential news magazine determined it was "anti-Semitic and historically revisionist."
top, german magazine, removes, anti-semitic, book, bestseller list
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2017-10-28
Friday, 28 Jul 2017 03:10 PM
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