Neo-Nazis will surely pounce on the opportunity to publish Adolf Hitler’s political testament Mein Kampf when its copyright expires and it enters the public domain in three years.
What to do? Der Spiegel reports today that the German state of Bavaria, which currently holds the copyright, is planning its own edition of the book including critical commentary to undermine the book’s assertions.
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Entitled "My Struggle," the two-volume work published in 1925 and 1926 traces Hitler’s political evolution into the militaristic and anti-Semitic leader he would become. Hitler writes of how he came to view Jews and communism as the world’s twin evils.
As the leader of Germany from 1933 to 1945, Hitler presided over the world’s largest genocide and made war on Soviet Union.
The Bavarian state, which was given the rights to the book under the Allies’ de-nazification program after World War II, had used its control over the copyright to prevent publication until now, according to The Associated Press. The book is easily available in countries outside Germany.
“The expiration of the copyright in three years’ time could lead to more young people reading ‘Mein Kampf,’” Markus Söder, the state minister of finance, was quoted by Der Spiegel as saying. He said the book had a “mystical” reputation and that notes on the text would explain “the global catastrophe that this dangerous way of thinking led to.”
A similar English edition is also planned.
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According to the AP, Dieter Graumann, president of Germany’s Central Council of Jews, has said that creating a properly annotated version of the book was preferable to having the public access online sources of unknown intent.