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Jews welcome first post-war 'Mein Kampf'

The Local · 25 Apr 2012, 15:05

Published: 25 Apr 2012 08:28 GMT+02:00
Updated: 25 Apr 2012 15:05 GMT+02:00

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The southern state of Bavaria, which holds the rights, has not permitted reprints of the vicious anti-Semitic tract and rambling memoir since the Nazi leader's 1945 suicide.

But it said Tuesday it would release an edition with historians' commentary as well as a separate version for schools in 2015 before its copyright runs out at the end of that year in order to beat commercial publishers to the punch.

The head of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, Dieter Graumann, called Bavaria's decision "responsible" and a "good idea."

"If it is going to be released, then I prefer seeing a competent annotated version from the Bavarian state than profit-seekers trying to make money with Nazis," he told news agency AFP.

"I would of course prefer it if the book disappeared on a dust heap of contempt but that will not happen," he added, noting that the text was already widely available to Germans on the internet.

The book is not banned as such in Germany but because of Bavaria's blanket refusal to permit sales of old copies or reprints - even taking potential publishers to court - the decision marks a historic step.

Bavarian Finance Minister Markus Söder said Tuesday that the state aimed to release an edition filled with respected historians' commentary that would be impossible to use as far-right propaganda.

"We want to make clear what nonsense is in there - with, however, catastrophic consequences," Söder said of the book on which much of the Nazis' genocidal ideology was based.

A spokesman for his ministry said Wednesday that the state had proceeded extremely carefully.

"We are aware of our responsibility," the spokesman, Thomas Neumann, told AFP. "We believe we can demystify the book with a clean edition."

The German press appeared largely unfazed by the decision. The often excitable top-selling daily Bild put the news on its front page but in a short, matter-of-fact article.

And the website of influential news weekly Der Spiegel published a longer, neutral piece albeit with the provocative headline "'Mein Kampf' to Become School Book."

Bavaria intends to stump up €500,000 ($661,000) for the project and will reportedly publish an English edition, an electronic book and an audiobook in addition to the German annotated version and the school text with commentary targeted at a younger audience.

Hitler wrote "Mein Kampf" (My Struggle) in 1924 - nine years before he rose to power - while serving a prison sentence in Bavaria following his abortive Beer Hall Putsch the previous year.

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The two-volume work combined elements of autobiography with his views on Aryan "racial purity", his hatred of Jews and his opposition to communism.

Around 10 million copies were published in Germany until 1945, according to British historian Ian Kershaw. From 1936, every German couple marrying received a copy as a wedding gift from the Nazi state.

Bavaria made its decision after winning a court battle last month against a British publisher who planned to release parts of "Mein Kampf", also along with commentary from historians.


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Your comments about this article

09:05 April 25, 2012 by MeinSchwanz
They fought to keep it from being published, so that they could publish it themselves? Its not about fear of neo-Nazis seizing on the book as propaganda. Its about the €€€ and a Government Monopoly. All on the lucky tax payers dime. if this turns out to be hugely profitable for the German State, rest assured, the tax payer will never see a dime of it.
12:13 April 25, 2012 by Bigfoot76
History is what it is. Not good, not bad. Whatever happens, that is history. I am a fan of history. I do not think it is bad to publish such a book, nor any other. What the reader does with the book or as a result of the book is another topic all together.

I have to agree that the timing of publishing indicates that The State knows that people are going to make money from the book once they are allowed to publish it freely, the State is making an obvious attempt to get it's pockets full before anyone else does.
14:10 April 25, 2012 by ITAMAR
what has really changed in Germany after 1945?
15:35 April 25, 2012 by Rittervon
What? This book is a historical item. I have a question for you (mein schwanz), if you owned the rights to this or any book you would not republish it and allow anyone to publish it for their own profit? I don't think so.

The book and it's idea's need to be put out with the trash that they are but the German state own's the rights to the book and the money will either go to the general fund ie the peoples fund or maybe they will give some to chairity?

Think positive!
15:54 April 25, 2012 by ITAMAR
this is not a regular historical book, this is the Nazies'bible" this "text book" has brought to the murder of 6 millions Jews in Europe,publishing it again means renewing the legitmacy of these barbaric acts by the German people.,
16:20 April 25, 2012 by raandy
This book is History, people now reading it can see the propaganda and racial hatred in it's pages. I do not see any danger or renewed legitimacy from it's contents.

I think it is more a lesson in how the public was and can still be duped. Not just for the German people but for all people,everywhere.

The real mission now is money.
18:14 April 25, 2012 by MeinSchwanz
@ Rittervon

The book should have been published a long long time ago. The southern state of Bavaria has no more right to this book than anybody else. Anybody that had rights to the book, lost those rights when they lost the war. The book belongs not just to the German people, but to the people of the world. A heavy price was paid for it by many, form many nations. It is far too important as an educational text, to keep under wraps for monetary gain.
18:52 April 25, 2012 by ITAMAR
I am not optimistic for the results of the pubicity of that book ,the result can be misured in one year from its publicity with the number of anti semitic episodes in Europe,if the number of them will raise then we shell have the answer,

Anti semitism exsist in Europe for 3000 years ,this book will give just more woods to that fire
10:03 April 26, 2012 by Sastry.M
The world has changed greatly since the publication of Mein kampf and application of ideas from it under leadership of its author himself during National Socialist Regime.

However abusive in theory and tyrannical in application, Hitler probably did not aspire to sell ideas and make personal profits although he persecuted Jewish people and ruined the German nation. If the Bavarian State government is bent only on making competitive profits by its sale, the commercial ethics of present day world may not prevent them doing so because the guilt that caused by the book is shared by all Germans presently irrespective religious faith since many Jews who supported Hitler also fought and fell for fatherland and shared the spoils in silence.
14:19 April 27, 2012 by Sayer
Like ITAMAR above, panic should be avoided, as well as extrapolation ad-absurdum.

Publishing this book does not mean that there will be a wave of Nazi revivalism. If we follow ITAMAR's train of thought off the cliff, then we should ban cars, as people will die in accidents. We should restrict the use of electricity, as people will be burned, or start short.circuit fires, or even get electrocuted. Kitchen knives cut, so they go too. And as for trains, well, people might jump in front of them! The universe is just one big bad place, so turn your face to the wall and never leave your room.

"Anti semitism exsist in Europe for 3000 years ,this book will give just more woods to that fire." What the heck? I would say that whoever in Europe knew Moses in the day was less concerned about his beliefs (which weren't Jewish then anyway, if they ever were), than with staying warm and fed. Sorry ITAMAR, that victim card don't wash any more. If you're really worried about victims, get your cronies to stop the genocide, the holocaust in Gaza.

Publish the darn book. Disinfect the ideas in it, intelligently, in the cleansing act of debate in bright sunlight. A nation which burns books today is not far from burning people tomorrow. I've read it, and it's not exactly Tom Clancy stuff, I tell you.
23:08 April 27, 2012 by Soave
I have read the book,

in a 1938 edition from Munich. With no comments. And I would edit it as it is, without any comments from historians.

The book is horrible, both in its style and its (lack of) logic. In fact, the best way to show what a lunatic that guy was, is to publish it and let people read it.

The really bad and sad thing, is that it is quite revealing, as he wrote exactly what his plan was to reach power, destroy democracy (hence the Führer idea as the ultimate responsible of everything that happened in the country), unify the German people under one country and then conquer other countries (this is stated on page 1!!!), conquer Russia and obviously consider the Jews some sort of under-humans. And as most Germans would have read it at the time, it really makes it hard to justify the "we didn't know" line. And the same goes for the leaders of the European countries that were sitting pretty till all hell broke loose.

As someone said earlier, history is history.
15:23 April 28, 2012 by Bruno53
I read the book once. One of the most boring books ever written. But also read most nazi leaders, according to Albert Speer's memoirs, never bothered to read.
22:27 April 28, 2012 by PierceArrow
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
04:21 April 30, 2012 by jeff10renatus
Why is it that of all of Local publications for various European countries, the Local for Germany 'removes' the most comments? Does this seem to others to be a continuation of the attitude that allowed the Nazis to come to power and Stasi to be so effective in East Germany?

So, is this dark and threatening propensity to stifle dissent and unpopular or provacative comments, all traits of totalitarianism, alive and well in modern Germany, as evidenced by the unreasonably dictatorial acts of the Local for Germany?

Why does the German Local fear expressions of certain types of opinions?

Do the editors or does the management of the Local for Germany even realize that these censorious actions are the very basis of what allows for the existence of totalitarian regimes?
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