German Jews want 'Mein Kampf' reprinted

Country divided by call to republish Hitler's anti-semitic autobiography

Germany's Central Council of Jews has taken the unprecedented step of backing a proposal to republish Adolf Hitler's infamous autobiographical manifesto
Mein Kampf, which has been strictly outlawed in the country since the end of the Second World War.

Although many German Jews still oppose reissuing Hitler's anti-Semitic work, Stephan Kramer, the general secretary of the country's leading Jewish organisation, supports a new scholarly edition of the work designed to inform future generations of the evils of Nazism.

"It makes sense and is important to publish an edition of Mein Kampf with an academic commentary," Mr Kramer said. "A historically critical edition needs to be prepared today to prevent neo-Nazis profiting from it."

However the southern state of Bavaria, which holds the rights to the book, remains strongly opposed to the idea. "We won't lift the ban as it may play straight into the hands of the far right," said a spokesman for the Bavarian government. "Prohibition is highly regarded by Jewish groups and we mean to keep it that way," he said.

Several German academics, including the historian Jürgen Faulenbach, also oppose republishing the work and insist that it does little to throw light on the Nazi era. "The book does not provide any important answers to questions about how the Nazi regime was possible," he said. "It only contains the polarising views of the author. To lift a 60 year old ban on Mein Kampf would be problematic."

Hitler wrote Mein Kampf, which means "My Struggle", in 1924 while serving a four-year term in a Bavarian prison. The book contains the Nazi leader's well-known views on racial purity, and demonstrates his hatred of communism and the Jews. It also hints at his long term plans for the Holocaust.

During the Third Reich, the book became a household item, although few Germans managed to get through all of its turgid prose. The book was outlawed in 1945 and although it has been republished abroad several times, Bavaria has insisted that the ban be upheld in Germany ever since.

However, Bavaria's rights over the book are due to expire in 2015 and the courts have yet to determine whether German laws banning the distribution of Nazi propaganda will continue to prevent the book from ever appearing in the country.

In an attempt to forestall any new legal ban on the book after 2015, Munich's Institute for Contemporary History applied this week for permission to reprint the work after that date. It aims to produce an edition containing scholarly footnotes challenging most of Hitler's assertions. "A scientific edition would help to dispel the peculiar myths surrounding this book," said Horst Möller, the institute's director.

The idea has also received firm backing from the British historian and acclaimed Hitler biographer Sir Ian Kershaw. "A grown up democracy like Germany does not need to fear that Hitler's damaging treatise would somehow constitute a threat to society," he said in an interview with Germany's Stern magazine. He pointed out that the internet meant that attempts to ban Mein Kampf were a waste of time.

The internet is also one of the reasons for the new stance taken by Germany's Central Council of Jews: "It is all the more important that young people should see the critical version when they click on to Mein Kampf on the web," Mr Kramer said.

Suggested Topics
News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Sport
Danny Welbeck's Manchester United future is in doubt
footballGunners confirm signing from Manchester United
Sport
footballStriker has moved on loan for the remainder of the season
Sport
footballFeaturing Bart Simpson
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
Katie Hopkins appearing on 'This Morning' after she purposefully put on 4 stone.
peopleKatie Hopkins breaks down in tears over weight gain challenge
Arts and Entertainment
Olivia Colman topped the list of the 30 most influential females in broadcasting
tv
News
Kelly Brook
peopleA spokesperson said the support group was 'extremely disappointed'
News
The five geckos were launched into space to find out about the effects of weightlessness on the creatures’ sex lives
i100
Life and Style
techIf those brochure kitchens look a little too perfect to be true, well, that’s probably because they are
Sport
Andy Murray celebrates a shot while playing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
TennisWin sets up blockbuster US Open quarter-final against Djokovic
Arts and Entertainment
Hare’s a riddle: Kit Williams with the treasure linked to Masquerade
booksRiddling trilogy could net you $3m
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
News
news Video - hailed as 'most original' since Benedict Cumberbatch's
News
i100
Life and Style
The longer David Sedaris had his Fitbit, the further afield his walks took him through the West Sussex countryside
lifeDavid Sedaris: What I learnt from my fitness tracker about the world
Arts and Entertainment
Word master: Self holds up a copy of his novel ‘Umbrella’
booksUnlike 'talented mediocrity' George Orwell, you must approach this writer dictionary in hand
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SQL Implementation Consultant (VB,C#, SQL, Java, Eclipse, integ

£40000 - £50000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: SQL Impl...

SQL Technical Implementation Consultant (Java, BA, Oracle, VBA)

£45000 - £55000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: SQL Technical ...

Head of IT (Windows, Server, VMware, SAN, Fidessa, Equities)

£85000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Head of IT (Windows, Server, VMware, SAN, ...

Lead C# Developer (.Net, nHibernate, MVC, SQL) Surrey

£55000 - £60000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Lead C# Develo...

Day In a Page

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering