Ger­many de­bates Mein Kampf le­gal­i­sa­tion

The Jewish Chronicle - - WORLD NEWS - BY TOBY AX­EL­ROD

AL­MOST EVERY­WHERE in the world, Hitler’s Mein Kampf is a du­bi­ous best­seller, even 70 years af­ter the end of the war. But in Ger­many, it is il­le­gal to pub­lish it. That is, un­til next year.

At the end of 2015, the copy­right — owned by the state of Bavaria — runs out and, strictly speak­ing, this no­to­ri­ously an­tisemitic book is fair game for pub­lish­ers of all kinds. It is some­thing not all Ger­mans are ready for.

But fol­low­ing last week’s con­fer­ence of Ger­many’s jus­tice min­is­ters on the is­land of Rü­gen, the le­gal fu­ture of this ex­tremely bor­ing but chill­ing work seems set.

The up­shot is that the min­is­ters will seek to ban the pub­li­ca­tion in gen­eral but that a new law is not nec­es­sary to that end. They also said that a schol­arly, an­no­tated edi­tion should come out as planned in 2016.

In fact, the Mu­nich-based In­sti­tute for Con­tem­po­rary His­tory, to which Bavaria has given more than £400,000 to pro­duce the vol­ume, is com­plet­ing the edi­tion now and will pub­lish it in Jan­uary 2016.

Even Di­eter Grau­mann, head of the Cen­tral Coun­cil of Jews in Ger­many, has agreed that an an­no­tated ver­sion is the l e s s e r e v i l , al­though he has de­scribed it as “aw­ful”.

The acer­bic Jewish comm e n t a t o r Hen­rykBroder has joined the fray, telling the Nord­west Zeitung that those who sup­port ex­tend­ing the ban ex­hibit a “pro­found lack of trust of their own ‘stupid’ people”.

Af­ter the war, the Bavar­ian Fi­nance Min­istry in­her­ited the copy­right and, un­til now, has barred pub­li­ca­tion in Ger­many in an ef­fort to limit the spread of Hitler’s ide­ol­ogy.

In 2012 the min­istry an­nounced it would al­low the an­no­tated edi­tion to be pub­lished af­ter the copy­right ex­pires. But in De­cem­ber 2013, it de­cided to with­draw from the project, af­ter Mu­nich Jewish leader Char­lotte Knobloch, for­mer head of the Cen­tral Coun­cil of Jews in Ger­many, for­mally op­posed pub­li­ca­tion in the name of con­cerned Holo­caust sur­vivors.

At the time, in­sti­tute di­rec­tor An­dreas Wirsching said work would con­tinue any­way. He called the work a “key source on the his­tory of Na­tional So­cial­ism” that should be stud­ied, and said that the per­spec­tives of Holo­caust sur­vivors were an im­por­tant guide­line.

He added: “As we see it, a schol­arly, an­no­tated edi­tion with crit­i­cal ex­pla­na­tions is ur­gently needed to counter the un­con­trol­lable dis­sem­i­na­tion of this text.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.