Plans to publish ‘Mein Kampf’ in Germany postponed

(JTA) — A British publisher has postponed plans to publish segments of Adolf Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” after threats of legal action.

Peter McGee said Wednesday on the website of his weekly magazine Zeitungszeugen that he would not begin publishing the segments Thursday as planned until the legal issues were ironed out.

McGee earlier this month announced plans to publish three annotated excerpts of the text, which remains under copyright protection in Germany until 2015, 70 years after Hitler’s death.

The Bavarian Finance Ministry holds the copyright to “Mein Kampf” in Germany. In 2010, the Munich-based Institute for Contemporary History was granted permission to reprint the work after the copyright lapses. Historians there are working on an annotated edition.

The book is available to researchers in libraries, but it may not be published in Germany. However, translations of the book are available abroad and sometimes make their way into Germany. In addition, unauthorized versions are available on far-right and Islamic extremist websites based outside of Germany.

"Holocaust survivors are relieved that the nightmare of Hitler’s handbook openly sold in the kiosks of Berlin has been lifted," Elan Steinberg, vice president of the American Gathering of Holocaust Survivors and their Descendants, said in a statement. "Make no mistake: The issue here was not of free speech, but rather that of a sensationalist publisher seeking to make material profit at the emotional expense of victims of Nazi terror. Indeed, even in Germany, legitimate scholars or inquirers can easily obtain reference to ‘Mein Kampf’ through the Internet or academic libraries."
 

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