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Germans un-Kampf-ortable With Reissue of Hitler’s Tome

Starting in 2015, Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf will once again be available to German readers.

Dust jacket of the book Mein Kampf, written by Adolf Hitler. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Starting in 2015, Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf will once again be available to German readers. Banned from publication in the country at the end of World War II, the two volume text will go back on the market when the copyright—held by the Bavarian state government—expires.

Hitler’s text has always been available to German audiences, through the internet and second-hand booksellers. Owning the book is completely legal, as is using it for educational purposes. But, as one would expect, tensions remain high at the thought of new copies arriving on the market. Historians, political scientists, and other groups around the world are divided on if the book should be printed at all, and if so, in what form.

According to The Chronicle of Higher Education, the government has plans to issue annotated versions of the text, with that work being handled by the Institute of Contemporary History, in Munich, Germany.

Mein Kampf is like a rusty old grenade. We want to remove its detonator,” explains Christian Hartmann, who leads the Munich team. “We intend to defuse the book. This way it will lose its symbolic value and become what it really is: a piece of historical evidence—nothing more.”

 

More from Smithsonian.com:

Revisiting The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich

One Man Against Tyranny

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About Colin Schultz
Colin Schultz

Colin Schultz is a freelance science writer and editor based in Toronto, Canada. He blogs for Smart News and contributes to the American Geophysical Union. He has a B.Sc. in physical science and philosophy, and a M.A. in journalism.

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