Printing or selling Adolf Hitler’s infamous Mein Kampf is currently illegal in Germany. However, the current precedent may change when the copyright law for the 90-year-old book’s publication is set to expire next year.
The book’s rights to publication are held by the German state of Bavaria. Those rights expire in 2015, and if there is no legal intervention into the matter, anyone can freely publish the book.
Bavaria’s Justice Minister Winfried Bausback said 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.”
The Justice Minister continued, “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. 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.”
President of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, Dieter Graumann, said he was adamantly opposed to the book’s publication. “The very thought of a new publication of Hitler’s ‘Mein Kampf’ is more than disgusting,” said Graumann. He continued, “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(Holocaust)-survivors.”
The law is currently ineffective in stifling the sale of Hitler’s book, said Lower Saxony Justice Minister Antje Niewisch-Lennartz, because the book is readily available “on practically every corner.”
In 1943, scholars estimate that there were 10 million copies of Mein Kampf in German households.