German Amazon To Be Sued Over Holocaust Denial Books

By Erica Morris - Thursday 30th July 2009

The German branch of the American Jewish Committee announced it was launching a lawsuit on Friday against the country's Amazon website, accusing the online book retailer of selling 50 books which revise or deny the Holocaust.

The move was welcomed by Jewish community leaders in Britain, citing a "moral responsibility" against inciting hatred or advocating revisionism of the Shoah, which is an offence punishable by five years in prison in Germany.

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According to research conducted by the AJC, about 50 books, including Wilhelm Staglich's The Auschwitz Myth - Legend or Reality, are currently for sale on, the German branch of the site. Staglich's book, along with works cited by the AJC written by Germar Rudolf, Udo Walendy, Jurgen Graf and Carlo Mattogno, are also available for sale on the UK's branch of the retailer,

Jon Benjamin, chief executive of the Board of Deputies, told the Jewish News: "Amazon does have a moral responsibility not to propagate the sorts of views that encourage racism and intolerance."

He added: "Holocaust denial has been criminalised in countries like Germany and
Austria, where the historical resonance of the Nazi era is particularly profound. It is not a criminal offence in the UK and the consensus is that the law does not need to be changed, provided there remains sufficient protection under the laws relating to incitement. That does lead to instances where, under the right of free speech, some thoroughly unpleasant literature is available from otherwise respectable sources."

AJC-Berlin director Deidre Berger said in a statement: "It is unacceptable that books are for sale on, that normally are only available under the counter in far-right extremist shops. We cannot let the spread of internet sales erode laws that ban Holocaust denial and incitement to hatred of minorities in Germany."

A spokeswoman for responded that while books may be on offer which contain "questionable content with regards to the Nazis", the company believes "that the correct answer to controversial literature is not to ban it, but to engage in discussion over the controversy".

The spokeswoman also denied allegations by the AJC that the site was selling books marked strictly for readers over the age of 18.

Member of the German Parliament Sebastian Edathy, head of the Bundestag's interior affairs committee, criticised Amazon's response, saying in a statement it was "shocking that an international book dealership is not prepared to remove books that stir up anti-Semitism and undermine the democratic consensus".

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