Though banned from German bookstores since World War II, Adolf Hitler’s treatise “Mein Kampf” will become available in the country again on Thursday. A British publisher is printing a small run of excerpts of the book to demystify the dictator’s legend.
Reprinting Nazi text is outlawed in Germany, except for the purposes of academic study. But it is the state of Bavaria that owns the copyrights to “Mein Kampf,” Hitler’s autobiographical book on the rights of the master race.
British publisher Albertas is planning three brief extracts from the book that will be accompanied by critical commentary, each with a print run of 100,000. "It is a sensitive subject in Germany but the incredible thing is most Germans don't have access to 'Mein Kampf' because it has this taboo, this 'black magic' surrounding it," Albertas Head Peter McGee told Reuters.
"We want 'Mein Kampf' to be accessible so people can see it for what it is, and then discard it. Once exposed, it can be consigned to the dustbin of literature," he said.
The pamphlets will be distributed as a supplement to Albertas’ weekly publication "Zeitungszeugen," which reprints Nazi newspapers with commentary.
Bavaria said Monday that the supplement breaches copyright law. "The Bavarian finance ministry is currently considering legal steps against this publication," a spokesman for the ministry said in a statement.
On the other side of the issue, the Central Council of Jews supports the reprints. President Dieter Graumann hopes that the pamphlets will "demystify" the book.
The Central Council of Jews, meanwhile, is taking a far more relaxed view of the publication than it did with the Nazi newspapers in 2009. Dieter Graumann, the president of the council, said he hoped that the reprints would "demystify" the book. "I'm an Internet junkie myself," said Grauman. "Everyone can already find the book on the Web."