Mein Kampf returns: German ministers prepare to lift ban on publication of Adolf Hitler’s controversial manifesto

Copyright on the text expires next year – and possible new law forbidding a reprint seems unlikely to gain support

German politicians are meeting this week to discuss the seemingly inevitable prospect that Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf will be published in the country for the first time since his death at the end of the Second World War.

Central government justice ministers were joined by those from the state of Bavaria, which has owned the books’ copyright and enforced its absence in Germany and Austria for the past 69 years.

But at the end of 2015 it will have been 70 years since Hitler’s death, meaning the copyright to Mein Kapf – and its effective ban – will expire.

Tomorrow, the conference in Rügen will debate whether a new law should be made specifically banning reprints of the book. But speaking to the German DPA news agency, Lower Saxony’s justice minister Antje Niewisch-Lennartz said she was against the idea of a “special law geared only to the prohibition of a book”.

The book has been reprinted several times outside the German-speaking countries and e-book versions have shot to the top of some bestselling charts meaning, Niewisch-Lennartz said, that is is available “on practically every corner” anyway.

Many in Germany nonetheless fear that allowing the text to go into the public domain will open the floodgates to a new wave of neo-Nazi editions of the work, and Niewisch-Lennartz admitted that for Jewish communities the idea of Mein Kampf returning to bookshelves in Germany would be “almost unbearable”.

Bavaria has been preparing for this, and earlier this year the state said it would not support an absolute block on publication from 2016 onwards.

Instead, the state has backed the Munich Institute of Contemporary History to republish the book as a “commercially unattractive” academic copy with annotations to debunk and “demystify” the manifesto. The hope is that this “authoritative” version will discourage others from publishing their own – and any who do could be subject to existing anti-Nazism laws.

In a statement, the Bavarian justice minister Winfried Bausback said: “We owe it to the victims of the holocaust and their relatives to do everything we can to prevent the duplication and distribution of this ideological, inflammatory text.”

Dieter Graumann, president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, told The Local today that the thought of a new publication of Mein Kampf was “disgusting” and that it will remain “a pure anti-Semitic work of irrational hatred that should be forbidden for evermore”.

“Regrettably and obviously we cannot prevent a new publication, since the copyright is about to expire,” he said. “So if a publication cannot be avoided, it should be at least guaranteed that there is a scholarly edition which provides a scientific and critical analysis in order to demystify this horrible text.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
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

Ashdown Group: Front-End UI Application Developer

£30000 - £40000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Front-End UI Application ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Service Engineers - Doncaster / Hull

£27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Domestic Service Only Engineers are requ...

Recruitment Genius: Employability / Recruitment Adviser

£23600 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Employability Service withi...

Day In a Page

Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

The secret CIA Starbucks

The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

One million Britons using food banks

Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

How to run a restaurant

As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
10 best tote bags

Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

Paul Scholes column

I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England
Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

The heptathlete has gone from the toast of the nation to being a sleep-deprived mum - but she’s ready to compete again. She just doesn't know how well she'll do...