Bavaria to print 'unattractive' new edition of Mein Kampf


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The Independent Culture

Bavaria has announced plans to publish a specially annotated version of Adolf Hitler's manifesto Mein Kampf in an attempt to prevent neo-Nazis exploiting the book for propaganda purposes when its copyright expires in three years' time.

The racist autobiography has been effectively banned in Germany since the end of the Second World War. The state of Bavaria, which owns the copyright, has repeatedly blocked attempts to publish new editions of the book because of fears it would encourage a rebirth of the far right.

However the copyright expires at the end of 2015. Bavaria says its plan to publish a "commercially unattractive" copy is designed to prevent the book being used for propaganda.

"We want to make clear what nonsense it contains and what a worldwide catastrophe this dangerous body of thought led to," said Markus Söder, the Bavarian Finance Minister. He said the state's version would contain additional information which would debunk and "demystify" the manifesto.

Bavaria said it would also publish a school version, an English language edition, an e-book and an audio book.

The decision follows a change of heart by Germany's Central Council of Jews. Stephan Kramer, its general secretary, recently backed the idea of publishing a scholarly edition of Mein Kampf, explaining its role in encouraging Nazism.

The internet was a reason behind his changed stance: "It is all the more important that young people should see the critical version when they click on to Mein Kampf on the web," he said.

The decision to publish coincides with an increase in far-right violence. Last year an armed neo-Nazi hit squad was found to have carried out a series of racist murders.

Hitler wrote Mein Kampf, or My Struggle, in 1924, while in jail. It contains his views on racial purity.