• Germany's news in English
 
app_header_v3
Storm in Israel as Hitler book is published again
Hitler's anti-Semitic rant, which he wrote from prison in the early 1920s, loses its copyright in Germany on Friday. Photo: DPA

Storm in Israel as Hitler book is published again

AFP · 1 Jan 2016, 11:16

Published: 01 Jan 2016 11:16 GMT+01:00

Hitler's anti-Semitic rant, which he wrote from prison in the early 1920s, loses its copyright in Germany on Friday, and the country's first release of it since 1945 is due out soon in the form of an extensively annotated version.

The copyright had been held by the German state of Bavaria, to which it was granted by the victorious Allies after World War II, and now enters the public domain.

New versions are expected in many countries, sparking fierce debate over how one of the most controversial books in history should be treated.

Mein Kampf -- which means "My Struggle" -- does not face a total legal ban in the Jewish state, but any large-scale publication remains forbidden, the Israeli culture ministry says.

Even if there were no restrictions at all, publishers say there is still stigma around the book in a country formed after the Holocaust inspired by Hitler's writings.

According to the Foundation for the Benefit of Holocaust Survivors in Israel, 180,000 of them live in the Jewish state.

Murray Greenfield, founder of Gefen Publishing, which specialises in works about Judaism and its history, said he wouldn't publish it "even if they paid me".

"My wife is a Holocaust survivor," he said. "We have a built-in censorship on this book, in spite of being very much against censorship (generally)."

In many countries, including some of Israel's Arab neighbours, copies of the book are widely available. It can also be found on the Internet, including in Israel, so those keen to access it are able to do so.

"The book is available online," Dan Michman, head of the Yad Vashem International Institute for Holocaust Research, pointed out.

"Many copies are to be found. Some 12 million copies were printed in German, so it is not rare."

But the book is also available in a shortened version in Hebrew in Israeli universities, the result of a campaign in the late 1980s by Holocaust survivor Dan Yaron.

- 'No publisher will do it' -

Yaron, who died in 1999, fought for the book, totally forbidden until then, to be published in Hebrew for educational purposes.

"He said it was important for the people to know and to prevent future such events by reading what the (Nazi) leader was saying," Michman told AFP, saying Yaron approached him to publish it but there was no money at the time.

In the end, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem financed the project, and a condensed version of the rambling 720-page original is available in Israeli universities and research institutes.

The taboo status of "Mein Kampf" is special among anti-Semitic writings, said Meir Litvak, an expert on Holocaust texts.

Story continues below…

"The Protocols of the Elders of Zion" -- a fictional book from the early 1900s claiming to document a Jewish plan for global domination that allegedly inspired Hitler -- is available across Israel, Litvak said.

"The book is common, even though it was the most popular anti-Semitic tract of the 20th century."

For "Mein Kampf", however, "there is an emotional rejection," he said. "No publisher will do it."

Michman was involved in drafting the 3,500 explanatory notes for the annotated German reprint, expected out in the coming days, and the book will remain outlawed if it is not contextualised.

Michman said it is positive to put the book in a wider context.

"It will include a lot of issues around the text - where Hitler took his ideas from (and) when he suggests something it explains if and how it was translated into deeds."

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

Today's headlines
Dresden 'most woman-friendly’ city in Germany
Photo: DPA.

Sorry Berlin, you're not the most progressive city for women, according to a new report.

The future belongs to these 10 German regions
This east German city won the 'most improved' category. Photo: DPA

A new study shows that one city above all will dominate the future of Germany, but if you're canny you might still want to think about moving to Leipzig or Erfurt.

Fugitive ex-terrorists 'on huge crime spree' in north Germany
(L-r): ex-RAF members Volker Staub, Daniela Klette, and Burkhard Garweg. Photo: BKA

In their struggle against capitalism they once murdered businessmen and politicians. Now three ex-terrorists have taken to robbing supermarkets - and rather successfully, too.

Scooter singer finally reveals how much the fish cost
H.P. Baxxter. Photo: DPA

It is the question Germans have wanted to know the answer to for almost two decades - and now they have the answer, thanks to a US talkshow host.

'I'm definitely not a paedophile': disgraced MP
Former MP Sebastian Edathy is in hiding after a child pornography scandal destroyed his career. Photo: DPA

Former MP Sebastian Edathy quit his job and left Germany after videos of naked children were found on his computer.

Weekend promises storms, humidity - and a bit of sun
A storm in Cuxhaven last weekend. Photo: DPA

The forecast for the coming days isn’t the pristine blue skies many of us are longing for. But, in among the storms, the sun will still peek out.

Prosecutors take aim at unedited Hitler book
An original edition of 'Mein Kampf' featuring a photo of Hitler on an inside cover. Photo: DPA

German prosecutors said on Thursday they were investigating whether to bring charges against a publisher who has promised to print a version of Adolf Hitler's anti-Semitic manifesto "Mein Kampf" without annotations.

VW bets on battery factory for electric car dominance
A VW logo is seen in front of a plugged-in electric car. Photo: DPA

Scandal-hit car giant Volkswagen is set to sink huge sums into building a factory for batteries to power its future electric cars, German media reported on Friday.

Raging ticket controller seizes Chinese traveler's passport
File photo of a plainclothes ticket controller. Photo: DPA.

Germany's national rail operator is in hot water after a ticket controller reacted aggressively to a newly arrived Chinese traveler who made one of the most basic transit mistakes: forgetting to stamp her ticket.

Berlin politician crusades for health of skateboarding dog
File photo: DPA

Can a canine enjoy skateboarding? That's the question Berlin politicians are struggling to address in a row over a dog on four wheels.

Sponsored Article
Eat, learn, live: unforgettable holidays in France
Society
Pegida enraged by black children on chocolate bars
Health
New father's tragic herpes warning touches 1000s online
National
Monsanto takeover would be 'diabolical': environmentalists
Lifestyle
10 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
Politics
MP recites explicit Erdogan bestiality poem on live TV
National
China beats Germany in readiness to help refugees
Hamburg
Headless Lübeck corpse turns out to be discarded sex doll
National
Pensioner claims to have found hidden Nazi nukes
Business & Money
Here's why Munich is worth 20 times more than Berlin
Culture
Five sure-fire ways to impress Germans with your manners
Lifestyle
6 things about Munich that will stay with you forever
Technology
Church plans to connect with faithful at Wi-Fi 'Godspots'
Technology
Online hate speech can cost users thousands of Euros
Society
Bavarians in rush for non-lethal weapons licenses
Sport
Here's Germany's Mannschaft for Euro 2016
Culture
The Syrian pianist playing his way into Germans' hearts
The parrot who flew fast enough to trigger a speed camera
Technology
New law could let free Wi-Fi bloom across Germany
Politics
Berlin's plans to beef up the German army
Sport
Lufthansa's Euro 2016 ad takes aim at England
National
Supermarkets must pay massive fine for fixing beer prices
National
4/20: Five things to know about weed in Germany
Berlin
Police break up hipster swarm at vegan restaurant opening
7,841
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd