A number of German newspapers suggested last week that Bavaria was trying to ban Adolf Hitler’s book, Mein Kampf. Actually, Horst Seehofer, Bavaria’s minister president had decided to fund an academic edition of Mein Kampf, just before its copyright expires on January 1st, 2016.
The book was officially registered in 1945, with the finance ministry of Bavaria and they have owned the copyrights since the end of the war. Until recently, they denied any requests for publication.
About a year ago, during an interview with Cicero magazine, finance minister Markus Söder explained his intention to republish the book, saying that “we want to make clear what rubbish is written in this book, and what fatal consequences it had […] we have to demystify this book”.
In 2012, it was announced that the academic publication of Mein Kampf is to be funded by the Bavarian parliament and produced by the Munich Institute for Contemporary History, the Institut für Zeitgeschichte.
After investing €500,000 in this project and after receiving numerous complaints from Holocaust survivors, the CSU has had second thoughts about this, however, some legal experts have said that the publication would go ahead as decided but with a little bit less money invested into it.
Last week, the German press suggested that the Bavarian finance ministry is to take legal action against a Technical University of Berlin professor, who uploaded a PDF of Mein Kampf to the university’s website two years ago, The Guardian reports.
Christian Gizewski, a general historian and a research academic at TU Berlin, wanted to “expose Hitler’s prejudices and show that there was no sound historical basis to his ideology about race”. Gizewski insisted that Hitler never tried to understand the history of Jewish people, or any history in general, especially his so called facts in regards to what Aryan really means.
When he uploaded the PDF in 2011, he thought it was already extremely easy to find it online and nobody ever complained about it until now. On Friday, the university switched off his website for three day. When they switched his site back on on Monday, the PDF wasn’t there anymore. “Of course there are people who will abuse this book, but surely we have to distinguish between them and academics who look at it for sound academic reasons,” he said.
The Bavarian finance ministry can feel free to call Mr Gizewski at any times and address whatever criticism in regards to what is or isn’t ethic, because he happens to live on German land, but what about the rest of the world? What about the people who are just a quick web search away from the thousands of scans already uploaded?