News Brief

Russia bans 19th century book on discrimination against Jews in medieval Europe

The Russian authorities have banned a 19th century book about the forced conversion of Jews to Christianity in medieval Europe, following a court ruling, according to news website Meduza.

A district court in Sochi ruled on July 14 that the book, “Forced to Convert” by German Orthodox rabbi Marcus Lehmann, counts as so-called “extremist literature” under Russian law.

The book tells the story of Lithuanian and Polish Jews in the 14th century, focusing on a man who adopts Catholicism in order to secure a job as royal treasurer. The book has been widely reprinted.

Other publications banned under the same law include Hitler’s “Mein Kampf”, as well as a book by mothers of victims of the Beslan school hostage crisis.

A spokesman for the Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia, Boruch Gorin, has called the decision “an absolute mockery of the law against extremism.”