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German leader Charlotte Knobloch now opposes annotated ‘Mein Kampf’

BERLIN (JTA) — The head of Bavaria’s Jewish community, Charlotte Knobloch, said she now opposes the publication of an annotated edition of the Adolf Hitler manifesto "Mein Kampf" when the copyright runs out in 2015.

Knobloch’s change of heart came, she said in an interview published Wednesday in the Cicero online magazine for political culture, after a recent trip to Israel during which high-level officials expressed horror at the possibility of the book again hitting German shelves. Knobloch previously had supported plans for an educational edition of the book.

The former head of the Central Council of Jews in Germany told Cicero that she now absolutely opposes release of the book in 2016 and urged the authorities to find a legal way to bar publication, preferably through applying laws against incitement to hate. She said she decided to oppose the publication after hearing Israeli views while accompanying Bavarian Governor Horst Seehofer of the Christian Social Union on his visit to the Jewish state in September.

Knobloch was to continue her new campaign in a meeting this week with the Bavarian minister of culture, Ludwig Spaenle, also of the conservative CSU, which is the sister party to Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union. Spaenle is considering whether legal measures can be employed to bar publication, according to reports.

The Bavarian Finance Ministry holds the copyright to the manifesto, which bars publication until 70 years after Hitler’s death. In 2010, the Munich-based Institute for Contemporary History was granted permission to reprint the work in an annotated edition after 2015, with the aim of having a serious, critical edition out before commercial publishers jumped at the opportunity. Historians at the institute have been working on the new edition for years.

Meanwhile, Bavarian Finance Minister Markus Soder, also of the CSU, stands firm that an annotated edition makes sense in order to "demystify" the book.

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