Tuesday 27 September 2016

Fury as Germany's first new copies of Mein Kampf in 70 years aim to shatter myth of book

Hitler's personal manifesto will be published for the first time since Second World War and scholars say its 3500 annotations will strip away any allure

Published 02/12/2015 | 08:22

One of two rare copies of 'Mein Kampf' signed by the young Nazi leader Adolf Hitler and due for auction, photographed in Los Angeles
One of two rare copies of 'Mein Kampf' signed by the young Nazi leader Adolf Hitler and due for auction, photographed in Los Angeles
Detail from the cover of a rare copy of 'Mein Kampf' signed by the young Nazi leader Adolf Hitler

Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf is to be printed in Germany for the first time since the Second World War in January when its copyright expires.

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Despite opposition from anti-Nazi campaigners, the Institute of Contemporary History (IFZ), in Munich, plans to have a new, annotated edition on sale between January 8 and 11.

Detail from the cover of a rare copy of 'Mein Kampf' signed by the young Nazi leader Adolf Hitler
Detail from the cover of a rare copy of 'Mein Kampf' signed by the young Nazi leader Adolf Hitler

Andreas Wirsching, its director, said that it would include 3500 annotations to "shatter the myth" around the book.

 The book will be published in two volumes totalling 1,948 pages and sold at €59, said Mr Wirsching, who has been working on the project for six years.

A nuclear shelter for Hitler has reportedly been found near the Polish city of Walbrzych.(Britsh Pathe/PA)
A nuclear shelter for Hitler has reportedly been found near the Polish city of Walbrzych.(Britsh Pathe/PA)

The first run of Hitler, Mein Kampf. A Critical Edition would be limited to between 3,500 and 4,000 copies, he said.

Plans to publish the new version have been controversial and drawn fire especially from Jewish groups, who have argued the book is dangerous and should never be printed again.

"We have to strip away the allure of this book and show the reality," said Mr Wirsching.

Mein Kampf (My Struggle) was written by Hitler in 1924 while languishing in prison after a failed coup.

Authorities in the southern state of Bavaria were handed the copyright by Allied forces after the Second World War.

For seven decades, they have refused to allow it to be republished out of respect for victims of the Nazis and to prevent incitement of hatred.

But at the end of the year the copyright runs out so that Mein Kampf falls into the public domain on January 1.

"This is not just a source" for the study of Nazi ideology, said the historian responsible for the project, Christian Hartmann. "It is also a symbol and it is one of the last relics of the Third Reich."

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