Adolf Hitler’s 1925 Nazi manifesto Mein Kampf is set to be republished by the German state of Bavaria, which owns the copyright, due to expire in 2015.
Over the years, Bavaria has repeatedly blocked the work from being republished based on its ownership of the copyright of the German dictator’s manifesto; but now, with the expiration date upon us, it has decided to put out an annotated edition geared toward students of history.
The publication is an attempt at “demystifying” Mein Kampf, according to Markus Soeder, the Bavarian state finance minister as told to the BBC. Another goal of publication is to make the idea of publishing future editions of the book “commercially unattractive.”
Although German law generally prohibits hate speech and Nazi symbols, Hitler’s manifesto itself has not been banned. German regulations against hate speech would be the only potential barrier to publication, so unless the book were used to incite such hate, there would be no restrictions on its publication.
Translations of Mein Kampf, which means “My Struggle” or “My Battle” and lays out the foundation for an anti-semitic, militaristic movement, are already widely available on the Internet, including an e-version for the Kindle.
Hitler might find it ironic, at the least, that the republication of his manifesto, which was written during his stint in a prison camp in the early 1920s, may actually serve as a symbol of democracy and the free dissemination of information.
What do you think of the Bavarian government’s decision?