Mein Kampf, Adolf Hitler’s highly racist memoir/manifesto, is now for sell in Germany for the first time in 70 years as the copyright on the book lapses. The book, which has been available in other countries for years, was never technically banned in Germany, but Bavaria, who held the copyright, prevented its publication. The start of 2016 marks the 70th anniversary of Hitler’s death, meaning the copyright on the German-language original expired. The Institute for Contemporary History in Munich has worked to create a newly annotated edition of the book, titled Hitler, Mein Kampf: A Critical Edition. It is 1,948 pages—about twice as long as the original—and examines Hitler’s writing in the context of history in an attempt to counter his ideas.
“The problem with this book is that it isn’t just a historical source – it’s also a symbol,” said Christian Hartmann, who led the team putting together the annotated edition. “And our idea was to lay bare this symbol once and for all.”
Josef Schuster,president of Germany’s Central Council of Jews, said that he doesn’t object to the annotated reprint, while the president of the World Jewish Congress, Ronald Lauder, said it’s right to study the book, but he opposed to a new edition at all.
German authorities generally support the new edition.
According to the AP, Johanna Wanka, education minister, said, “I think one shouldn’t pretend the book doesn’t exist. Such taboos can sometimes be counterproductive. It’s important that people who want to debunk this book have the appropriate material.”