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How to make 'Mein Kampf' suitable for German classrooms

To the editor: Based on my visits to Berlin and many years of interacting with Germans of the "second generation," I believe that overall Germany has done a remarkable job educating people about and memorializing the Holocaust. ("German republication of Hitler's 'Mein Kampf' causes furor," Dec. 31)

Last year I took an art exhibit to Freiberg, near Dresden, where my mother was a Jewish slave laborer from October 1944 to April 1945. As part of the program, German middle school students read from the diary of one of the Jewish prisoners, and they were extraordinary in their embrace of history and their continuing sense of responsibility to remember it.

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I suggest that the dangers of allowing a new, annotated version of "Mein Kampf" to be read in schools — and they do exist — can be mitigated by simply flipping the text for the annotations. Adolf Hitler's racist ravings would then become the footnotes for the valid historical lessons to be taken from the fact that the book was written, published and read by millions of people in the first place.

Jana Zimmer, Santa Barbara

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To the editor: I was struck reading this article in the same paper as another one with the headline, "New Yorker accused of terror plot."

I have always been amazed how one person, sitting in his own home at his computer, can link up with terrorists half a world away. This has angered and discouraged me.

But the two articles together reinforced the obvious: At least 12.4 million "normal" people sat in their homes between 1925 and 1945 and read a book that happened to be Hitler's "Mein Kampf."

It's not how or where one gathers information; it's how each person individually reacts to it.

Wendy A. Robinson, Saugus

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To the editor: Putting "Mein Kampf" in German schools as a way to teach kids about World War II and the Holocaust is an idiotic idea. The students should visit Auschwitz or the Holocaust museum in Berlin. They would learn much more.

Stanley Gordon, Canoga Park 

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