North Korean ruler Kim Jong Un is reported to have given copies of Adolf Hitler's manifesto "Mein Kampf" to top officials as a leadership manual earlier this year.
Citing an unnamed North Korean official working in China, anti-regime news portal New Focus International reported Kim handed out copies around the time of his birthday in January.
"Kim Jong Un stressed to top officials the need to pursue a policy of both nuclear and economic development in tandem," the source told New Focus. "He instructed them to study the Third Reich and how Hitler reconstructed Germany after its defeat in World War I, and find ways to apply it to the North."
Kim also stressed the importance of sports in Nazi Germany, and called for policies to encourage such activities among North Koreans, according to the news site.
The report was picked up by all major South Korean newspapers on Wednesday.
North Korea's state media has since dismissed it as a "smear campaign," and threatened to punish the "despicable human scum" responsible for spreading rumors.
Hitler's 1924 memoir was written while he was in prison.
Most books are forbidden in North Korea.
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