BERLIN (JTA) – A new edition of “Mein Kampf” is due to be published in Germany in January following the expiration of a copyright law that prohibited its publication.
The book, to be published by the Munich-based Institute for Contemporary History, will be a two-volume annotated edition that is meant to demystify the text, which was written by Adolf Hitler and first published in 1925.
Josef Schuster, Germany’s top Jewish leader said he accepts the publication but urged law enforcement agencies to prevent an avalanche of publications of the raw book.
A scholarly edition ”is important, in order to explain [the roots of] National Socialism and the Shoah,” Schuster said.
Partly funded by the German state of Bavaria, the 2,000-page book will include the original text along with explanations, comments and notes. It will cost 59 euros, or about $63.
Hitler wrote the book while in prison in 1923, following his attempted coup in Munich. It was originally published in two volumes, one in 1925 and the next in 1926. After he came to power seven years later, many further editions were published, including one given free to newlywed couples and another to mark Hitler’s 50th birthday in 1939.
The copyright, which the Bavarian Finance Ministry inherited from the publisher after the war, runs out in January, 70 years after Hitler’s death.
Until now, the ministry has barred publication in Germany in an effort to limit the spread of Hitler’s ideology. But that has not stopped its publication elsewhere. Reportedly, more than 12 million copies have been sold over the years.
The Bavarian Ministry of Justice hopes to continue to ban publication of the original text, but it will have to seek means other than copyright law to do so. The ministry is reportedly seeking a ban based on laws prohibiting incitement to hate.