Friday 28 July 2017

Hitler's 'Mein Kampf' tops bestseller list in Germany

The owner of a book shop looks through a copy of the book ‘Hitler, Mein Kampf. A Critical Edition’ in Munich, Germany. Photo: Reuters/Michael Dalder
The owner of a book shop looks through a copy of the book ‘Hitler, Mein Kampf. A Critical Edition’ in Munich, Germany. Photo: Reuters/Michael Dalder

Paul Carrel in Berlin

'Mein Kampf' has become a bestseller in Germany once again, 92 years after it was first published.

A new, heavily annotated academic edition has sold more than 85,000 copies since it was published last year despite weighing in at almost 2,000 pages and costing €59. However, the sales are unlikely to be a sign of a resurgent German far-right or a rehabilitation of the racist text, but more to do with the fact that it is the first time 'Mein Kampf' has been published in German since 1945.

The rambling screed, which contains Adolf Hitler's thoughts on everything from eugenics and race theory to syphilis and the movies, continues to attract a morbid fascination and remains a bestseller in several countries.

But while it sold in translation around the world, publication of the original German text was blocked by German authorities for 70 years. So dangerous was the book considered to be that copies in the Bavarian state library were kept in a "poison cabinet" and readers had to be vetted before being access.

'Mein Kampf' was never officially banned in Germany but publication was prevented by the Bavarian government, which had the copyright.

That copyright expired a year ago and the Institute for Contemporary History, an academic publisher, brought out an edition with extensive annotations criticising Hitler's racist ideology. Only 4,000 copies were originally printed, but the publisher has now had to order a sixth print run.

Meanwhile, Germany's interior minister has called for radical reform of the police and intelligence services in the wake of last month's Berlin terror attack.

Thomas de Maiziere called for the federal government to take over responsibility for deporting rejected asylum seekers from the country.

He said a single national police force should take charge of counterterror operations and domestic intelligence be put under central government control. The federal structure was created in post-war Germany.

Anis Amri, the Tunisian who killed 12 people when he drove a lorry into a crowded Berlin Christmas market was a rejected asylum-seeker.

But he could not be deported because Tunisia was disputing his nationality and was allowed to stay in Germany and move freely through the country.

Under Mr de Maiziere's proposals, new "federal exit centres" would be set up near airports to hold deportees until they could be expelled.

Telegraph.co.uk

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