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Finnish retailers remove Mein Kampf from sale

The S-Group says selling the book was a mistake.

Kirjoja Turun kirjamessuilla
Kirjamyynnin sesonki alkaa perinteisesti syksyn kirjamessuilta. Image: Paula Collin / Yle
Yle News

An unedited Finnish translation, lacking scholarly comment, of Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf has emerged in the selection of several online booksellers in Finland.

Suomalainen kirjakauppa and S-Group have removed the Nazi manifesto from their offerings following a public outcry on social media.

The edition in question, published this year by Kielletyt kirjat ("Forbidden books"), includes a prologue emphasising that the book "contains no remarks from the translator or anything else extra."

The publisher's online shop features a selection of far-right material.

Information obtained by Yle suggests that the publisher has links to the neo-Nazi group Nordic Resistance Movement which was outlawed last year.

Kielletyt kirjat has denied any involvement with the group, responding to Yle from the publisher's general email address to say the publisher did not have links to the group.

Suomalainen kirjakauppa and S-Group removed the book from their offerings following criticism on social media. Päivi Hole, a VP at S-Group, told Yle it was a mistake to sell the book.

"Products come to us via partners. The volume of titles is so huge that we can't manually check it all," she said.

S-Group, like most book retailers in Finland, partners with book supplier Kirjavälitys.

That said, Hole pointed the finger at her supplier.

"We have to have a feedback discussion with Kirjavälitys. We have an agreement to to only offer appropriate books for sale," she said.

Hole noted that it was extremely rare to withdraw books from sale.

"Today's case was exceptional," she said.

Some 20 million books move through Kirjavälitys every year.

Inari Haapaniemi, the company's service manager, said she hadn't yet had time to look into the Mein Kampf case, though said the company does not take a position on the content of the books it passes on. She also noted that publishers are responsible for the material they publish while retailers are in charge of their own selections.

Haapaniemi was unable to estimate how many copies of the book Kirjavälitys had passed on to booksellers. She, however, said she believed the company would consider withdrawing Hitler's propaganda from sale.

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