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Academics to republish Mein Kampf in 2016

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Academics to republish Mein Kampf in 2016
A copy of Mein Kampf in a museum. Photo: DPA
08:39 CET+01:00
Researchers at the Munich Institute for Contemporary History (IfZ) plan to publish an annotated edition of Adolf Hitler's infamous book “Mein Kampf" [My Struggle] after its copyright runs out this year.

It's a moment the academics have spent years preparing for, knowing that the deadline for the copyright to expire – 70 years following the author's death – was soon to arrive.

IfZ deputy director Magnus Brechtken said that the two-volume new edition will contain 2,000 pages.

Just 780 of those will contain Hitler's original 27 chapters, while the rest will be made up of around 5,000 comments from researchers, an introduction and the index.

IfZ director Andreas Wirsching said last year that “what we are publishing here is an anti-Hitler text”.

The State of Bavaria, which inherited the rights to the 1925 book from the Nazis' Franz-Eher Publishing House, has had a complex relationship with the project.

It promised €500,000 of funding in 2012, before Bavarian minister-president Horst Seehofer reconsidered after a trip to Israel.

He said at the time that “I can't apply for a ban on the [neo-Nazi] NPD [at the Supreme Court] in Karlsruhe and at the same time support the publication of 'Mein Kampf' with the state coat of arms.”

A gathering of justice ministers from all the German states decided last year that it should remain forbidden to publish non-annotated copies of “Mein Kampf”.

Anyone publishing unedited versions will face a prosecution for incitement to hatred, they said.

But they did not make a firm decision on the status of annotated copies like the one proposed by the Institute, although a spokeswoman for the Bavarian justice ministry said such a work should be legal under certain conditions.

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