Through the letters and statements printed below we provide our foreign readers with documentation concerning Germany’s pressure to block publication in Sweden of Hitler’s notorious ideological tract . The confiscation was carried out on 15 December 1994 upon German request for alleged copyright reasons.


Publication of Mein Kampf blocked in Sweden

It started with the incident in Stockholm in April 1993 when a counsellor of the German Embassy in Sweden forced himself way into the home of book publisher Kalle Hägglund to hold him accountable for the publication of Mein Kampf in Sweden.

In an open letter to the German Ambassador the famous Swedish writer Jan Myrdal pointed out how unacceptable this German behaviour is to the Swedes (copy to the Swedish Foreign Minister) and received a reply which read in parts:

”- - -Through information in the press and protests from the Swedish public, the Embassy has learned that Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf has been published in a pocket edition in Sweden. The Embassy is concerned to find out what lies behind this new edition. It is hardly in anyone’s interest to publish a book which only finds response in neo-nazi circles. The needs of the public for information is met in other ways and primarily through the libraries. Besides, the intellectual property rights of the book belongs to the Finance Department of the State of Bayern, which in this case has not given consent to publication. Unfortunately it was impossible to get in touch with Hägglund’s publishing company. The fax message of March 23rd 1993 from the Embassy was not answered - - -”

Jan Myrdal found this reply highly unsatisfactory and wrote in another open letter:

”- - - The grounds for Mr. Wilde’s behaviour given in the letter are an untenable pretext. Even if it had been the case that the Embassy had not received an answer to its first letter, the Embassy must in normal fashion send another letter. If Mr. Wilde wished to visit book publisher Hägglund he must make an appointment beforehand. He was also obliged to show his identification and behave as a normal embassy official. That he did not do this is in itself a serious transgression. But what is far worse: Dr. Bernd von Waldow writes what is not, to speak with the voice of Jonathan Swift. To put it in no uncertain terms, the German Chargé d’affaires is lying. Lying in writing and lying in office. That is serious. Because Dr. Bernd von Waldow writes in explanation of Mr. Wilde’s strange visit - and writes it in the capacity of his official status on Embassy stationary - that:

’The fax message of March 23rd 1993 from the Embassy was not answered ...’

This, however, is a direct lie. I have checked the matter today. Book publisher Hägglund asked his legal adviser to handle the negotiations regarding the issue of the intellectual property rights. He sent the Embassy a letter in German on 930326. I have read a copy. Even the fax from Embassy Counsellor Wilde was perilously close to unlawful interference in the internal affairs of Sweden. His visit - and now the language of the letter from the Embassy - constitute an unequivocal unlawful interference of this kind in the internal affairs of Sweden, according to the 1961 Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations. That the Foreign Office of Sweden in the proper fashion should raise the issue with the Federal Republic of Germany’s Foreign Service, I as a Swede hold to be obvious. This must not happen again. For your information I want to point out that the reason that I and many others have considered that Hitler’s text again should be made available, is that it makes it clear the continuity of the German state concept. A Swede who has not read what Hitler wrote on what is German and the German state concept, will have more difficulty in understanding why Carl von Ossietzky according to present-day German law still is a traitor to his country, because he in 1929 as editor-in-chief publicly focused on the German state rearmement which was in violation of treaty, unconstitutional and unlawful according to the German legislation of that time, and according to later ruling even a war crime. It is through studies of the history of the Third Reich that it is made clear to Swedish debaters that there is an unbroken German line in the European question, from the Mitteleuropa of Friedrich Naumann, through the designers of the Third Reich and to the German government of today. Not only Hitler’s racial policies, but also the present-day German aliens’ policy and citizenship policy and the ongoing discussion on the ’Gypsy question’, are fully comprehensible only for the Swede who acquaints himself with the particular German citizen rights laws with their bloodline definitions, dating from the time of the German Empire. I can understand that on the part of Germany one does not welcome these debates in small neighbouring countries, as I can understand that on the part of the Soviet Union one did not want any public debate in Sweden about its policies. But in both cases diplomats must respect the rules of tha game. The staff at the German Embassy must present the German point of view in the normal way. But it does not have the right to act in the German manner of 1941, when the staff of the German Legation treated Sweden as if it were already part of the new Europe!”

In May 1994 Bavaria initiated a prosecution through reporting publisher Hägglund to the Stockholm police. On 8 December 1995 chief prosecutor Anders Helin started the prosecution and on 15 December, the day of Sweden’s accession to the European Union, a confiscation of the remaining copies of the edition was carried through at the Hägglunds Publishing House upon Bavaria´s requet.

After yhe publication of an article on 15 Dec by Jan Myrdal in Sweden´s most widespread labour daily Aftonbladet, the German ambassador in person called Aftonbladet afterwards and complained about the publishing, calling Jan Myrdal ”a lier”. The editor of Aftonbladet offered the German ambassador to have a reply article published, an offer which the latter turned down.

The Swedish Writers’ Union and the managing director of the Swedish Association of Publishers have made concerned statements, pointing out the fact that both the idea of copyright and the freedom of the press are at risk because of Bavaria´s behaviour.

The Writers’ Union stated: "Who decides over the Swedish freedom of information, Sweden or The Free State of Bavaria?" and urged the Minister of Justice to make the Free State of Bavaria aware of the consequences of its action for the freedom of information in Sweden. "How would, for instance, the judicial authorities in Sweden have reacted if the former Soviet Union during the years of lesser grace had confiscated Solshenytsyn’s copyright and demanded that there be no Swedish editions?" the Writers’ Union asked.

The confiscation was confirmed by the Stockholm Court of Appeal in a decision made public on 8 February 1995. An appeal to the Supreme Court of Sweden in the confiscation matter was handed in on 8 March 1995, while the main court procedings in the Stockholm Court of Justice are to take place in Stockholm on 28 April 1995.

TfFR 3-4/1994

Further documents, including the legal statements of the defence, can be obtained from the editor of TfFR.org