German authorities have given the go-ahead for Hitler’s Nazi manifesto, Mein Kampf, to be once again re-published from 2016 onwards.
The decision has come under scrutiny, given the increase in anti-immigration sentiment in Europe and concern whether the ready availability of the book will be useful or encourage radicalism.
There are a few copies of the originally published book from the 1930s. Some signed copies still exist, with the signature of Hitler on the inside front cover, and two of these are being put up for auction in the United States.
If it goes ahead, 2016 will be the first time for 75 years that Mein Kampf will have been published in Germany. Its copyright belongs to the southern German state of Bavaria and its legal authorities have prevented Mein Kampf being republished.
However, Bavaria’s copyright ends in December this year and so the Institute for Contemporary History in Germany has decided to publish a new version, which they say will feature supporting notes to describe the real-life and historical context of policies.
The Institute says that it understands why there are concerns that such a manifesto should once again be put into print in Germany, but they stand by their decision in order to deliver historical education. They say that the commentary and notes supporting the book will put the manifesto in the context of the events in the run-up to and during World War Two.
On the other hand, librarians from the Bavarian State Library, which holds original copies of Mein Kampf, say that they believe it is dangerous to produce the book once again on a mass basis. Jewish groups have also condemned the republishing of the book, and fail to see the reasoning behind the decision.
The Institute’s new version, at 2000 pages, will be more than double the 700-page length of the original version, due to the explanatory notes, The Telegraph reports.
Mein Kampf (or My Struggle) was written by Hitler in 1924. He wrote it while imprisoned in Bavaria for causing political unrest. Hitler dictated most of the book to his friend and deputy, Rudolf Hess. It is mainly an autobiographical commentary about Hitler’s life, his views on creating the perfect Aryan race and his dislike of Jews and communism.