• Germany's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Germany mulls lifting 'Mein Kampf' ban

DPA/The Local · 25 Jun 2014, 12:08

Published: 25 Jun 2014 12:08 GMT+02:00

Regional and national German justice ministers met on Wednesday on the island of Rügen to discuss whether Germany should make a new law banning Hitler's National Socialist manifesto once the 70-year copyright term, which started in 1945, runs out. 

Dieter Graumann, president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany told The Local he would strongly oppose ever publishing the work.

"The very thought of a new publication of Hitler’s ‘Mein Kampf’ is more than disgusting and goes against all my beliefs to fight neo-fascism and right-wing extremism," said Graumann.

"This book was and will remain a pure anti-Semitic work of irrational hatred that should be forbidden for evermore. It is an abhorrent pamphlet full of incitement of the Jewish people and it brutally hurts the feelings of the Shoa-survivors."

The current copyright holder is the state of Bavaria, which took over rights after Hitler's death at the end of World War II. But after 2015, 70 years after the author's death, theoretically, anyone can print and sell the book.

The Bavarian state does not allow the book to be printed in Germany and Austria, but has previously indicated it may allow an annotated edition for academic use after the copyright runs out.

But Bavaria's Justice Minister Winfried Bausback said in a statement on Wednesday: "We owe it to the victims of the holocaust and their relatives to do everything we can to prevent the duplication and distribution of this ideological, inflammatory text."

"I would prefer this book to be forbidden forever. Regrettably and obviously we cannot prevent a new publication, since the copyright is about to expire by the end of the year 2015," added Graumann.

“So if a publication cannot be avoided, it should be at least guaranteed that there is a scholarly edition which provides a scientific and critical analysis in order to demystify this horrible text.”

Many fear that the end of the copyright could open the flood gates to neo-Nazi editions of the work - and to the unthinkable prospect of the long-banned work becoming a bestseller in Germany.

"Mein Kampf," in which Hitler outlines his vision of a Jewish global conspiracy is widely available abroad, and has been translated into 16 languages, with several editions having been printed after 1945.

An e-book version of the work, topped Amazon’s bestseller charts earlier this year.

Lower Saxony's Justice Minister Antje Niewisch-Lennartz said at the start of the ministers’ conference she believed an explicit legal ban on printing and distributing the work is not the answer.

The Green Party politician said instead that Germany should allow the work to be published with an academic commentary so the anti-Semitic text could have a “preventative effect” against fascism.

Story continues below…

Niewisch-Lennartz acknowledges that for some Jewish groups the idea of putting the work back on sale in Germany would be "almost unbearable".

But she said a specific legal ban on the book would not work - especially as it was available "on practically every corner" abroad and online.

After Hitler's rise to power, millions of copies were published. From 1936, the Nazi state gave a copy to all newlyweds as a wedding gift. 

Ten million copies of the work were thought to be in German households in 1943. 

SEE ALSO: Hitler's face printed on 5,000 coffee mugs

For more news from Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

DPA/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Today's headlines
'We'll freeze Turkey talks' warns EU as arrests continue
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has launched a radical purge against anyone suspected of complicity in the coup attempt. Photo: DPA

As Turkish authorities on Friday widened their sweeping post-coup crackdown to the business sector, the European Union's enlargement commissioner implicitly warned that the bloc would freeze Turkey's accession talks if the crackdown violated the rule of law.

I’m ashamed of Germany’s refugee failure: Green leader
Cem Özdemir. Photo: DPA

The head of the Green Party has responded angrily to Angela Merkel’s speech on refugees on Friday, saying he feels “ashamed at Germany’s failure".

German satirists mock Erdogan (and his penis)
Photo: DPA

Tempting fate?

Huge pro-Erdogan rally puts strain on Turkish community
Erdogan supporters at a rally in 2014. Photo: DPA

Tens of thousands of supporters of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan plan to rally in Cologne on Sunday, as tensions over Turkey's failed coup have put German authorities on edge.

Opinion
How the Berlin startup scene is wasting its potential
Photo: DPA

"The truth is, there really isn't a truly successful international Berlin startup."

Five years' jail for German darknet weapons dealer
Photo: DPA

He had sold weapons to known Isis-sympathizers and far-right extremists.

Prickly Bavarian calls out cops on hedgehogs' noisy sex
Photo: DPA

Caught in the act.

International or German state school - which one's best?
Photo: DPA

Deciding between sending your child to a German state school or a private international school isn't easy. Max Bringmann has experienced both.

13 mortifying mistakes German learners always make

Sure-fire ways to get off on the wrong foot in the German language.

Captain Schweinsteiger retires from international football
Bastian Schweinsteiger. Photo: DPA

He has won a World Cup with Die Mannschaft and captained them at Euro 2016. On Friday Bastian Schweinsteiger announced his retirement from the national team.

Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Travel
Enter if you dare: Berlin's best abandoned haunts
DPA
Gallery
IN PICTURES: How Munich responded to shooting spree
Lifestyle
10 rookie errors all Brits make when they arrive in Germany
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
National
Bavaria train attack: Were police right to shoot to kill?
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
National
How to get German citizenship (or just stay forever)
Technology
Brexit will turn Berlin into 'Europe’s startup capital'
Travel
Six soothing day trips to escape the bustle of Berlin
International
'Germany needs to make UK come to its senses'
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Features
Six odd things Germans do in the summer
Travel
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
Sponsored Article
Health insurance for expats in Germany: a quick guide
Features
How two gay dads cut through German red tape to start a family
National
Five things to know about guns in Germany
Culture
10 things you need to know before attending a German wedding
National
Eight weird habits you'll pick up living in Germany
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
Lifestyle
Six reasons 'super-cool' Berlin isn't all it's cracked up to be
Society
Only one country likes getting naked on the beach more than Germany
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Lifestyle
23 ridiculously fascinating things you never knew about Berlin
Culture
8 German words that perfectly sum up your 20s
Lifestyle
Can't make it past the door at Berlin's most famous club? Help is at hand
Business & Money
Why Frankfurt could steal London's crown as Europe's finance capital
Features
6 surprising things I learned about Germany while editing The Local
10,527
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd