German media giant Bertelsmann removed Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf from its BOL online bookstore Friday after being accused of selling hate literature to Germans.
Selling or distributing unannotated hate literature is illegal in Germany, and BOL's German and Dutch services have never sold Hitler's anti-Semitic autobiographical manifesto. Hitler wrote the book in prison before he led the Nazi party to power in 1933.
But the same law does not apply in other European countries such as Britain or France, and BOL decided to stop offering the book because the Internet cannot be controlled across national boundaries.
The Nazi-hunting Simon Wiesenthal Center in the United States filed the initial complaint against Barnesandnoble.com, which is partly owned by Bertelsmann.
The Center also went after Amazon.com, charging that the two companies were breaking German law by making the book available to German consumers on the Internet.
Officials at Bertelsmann said they were aware of accusations of censorship after taking the action, but felt a special responsibility as a German company not to distribute hate literature.
Amazon.com still offers an English version of Mein Kampf in all the countries to which it delivers, but the online bookseller does not sell the book in German.