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30 Jan, 2009 07:36

Nazi propaganda returns to German newspapers?

Reprints of newspapers from the Nazi era in Germany have become a bestseller on newsstands across the country.

Every edition of the Zeitungszeugen contains the Nazi-era propaganda produced by Josef Goebbels, one of Hitler’s most devout followers, to promote Nazi ideals among Germans.

The first publication of the newspaper reprints the papers that were issued on January 30, 1933 – the time when Hitler came to power. The headline and attack on one of them reads ‘Der Angriff’ and ‘Reichkanzler Hitler!’ meaning ‘Hitler – Chancellor of the Reich’.

British publisher Peter McGee is behind the project. Along with the Nazi papers, each weekly edition also contains some opposition papers like the communist Der Kampfer or the conservative Deutsche Algemeine Zeitung. The aim is to educate people about history through newspapers, which is why each publication also contains historical commentary and analyses.

Although some people are quite happy with the chance to read historical documents, others feel quite the opposite, fearing the papers could encourage right wing nationalists. A surge in neo-Nazi activity has recently been reported in Germany and as the German economy tumbles, some analysts see parallels with the dying days of the Weimar Republic and the conditions that enabled Hitler’s rise to power.

“These copies are nothing more than examples for the neo-Nazis, and I do not think they should be allowed to be sold in German newsstands,” believes Stephan Kramer, General Secretary of Germany's Central Council of Jews.

The year-long project, which aims to reprint the old papers up until 1945, may not live long. The state of Bavaria is demanding publication be stopped. It claims to hold the sole copyright of the Nazi papers and says the project poses the danger of disseminating National Socialist propaganda.