Mein Kampf, the Nazi bible written by Adolf Hitler, is to be printed in Germany for the first time since the country’s defeat in 1945. The book had previously been effectively banned because the rights to it are held by the government of Bavaria and they declined all requests to re-print it.
However, the copyright held by Bavaria is due to expire in December and the Washington Post reports it will be re-produced as a historical document after that. The new edition will be heavy on analysis, and critical annotations are expected to fill the majority of the 2,000 pages.
This has not prevented criticism of the production of Mein Kempf – which translates to “My Struggle” – and is effectively an autobiographical hate rant by Hitler. He wrote it whilst in prison in 1925, following the failed Munich Beer Hall Putsch.
“I am absolutely against the publication of ‘Mein Kampf,’ even with annotations. Can you annotate the Devil? Can you annotate a person like Hitler?” said Levi Salomon, spokesman for the Berlin-based Jewish Forum for Democracy and Against Anti-Semitism. “This book is outside of human logic.”
The publication is particularly controversial because it will be printed by a state funded body, meaning the taxpayer will pick up the bill. Previously all copies of Mein Kempf were kept under lock and key in the Bavarian State Library, with permissions to view them being hard to obtain.
Despite this the book is widely available outside of Germany, and has been used as a text book for a wide variety of fascist groups since the end of WWII. It has even been produced in comic book form in Japan, and it is popular with Hindu nationalists in India.
Nazism remains a very delicate subject in Germany with many feeling an ongoing sense of shame about the country’s past. Most Nazi memorabilia is illegal in Germany as is displaying the swastika.