London: For the first time in 70 years, Adolf Hitler’s Nazi manifesto “Mein Kampf” (My Struggle) is to be available for purchase in Germany, the media reported on Friday.
Reprinting the anti-Semitic book was banned after the Second World War by Bavaria’s regional government, which held the copyright, it said.
The copyright has now expired and the Institute of Contemporary History (IfZ) in Munich will publish a new edition next week.
New versions are expected in many countries. Its annotated version, with thousands of academic notes, will aim to show that ‘Mein Kampf’ is incoherent and badly written, rather than powerful or seductive.
Historians said that ‘Mein Kampf’ helps academics understand what happened in the Nazi era. Many Jewish groups have welcomed this particular publication, saying it is important to have access to a critical edition to help explain the Holocaust.
‘Mein Kampf’ was originally printed in 1925 – eight years before Hitler came to power. After Nazi Germany was defeated in 1945, the Allied forces handed the copyright to the book to the state of Bavaria.
The local authorities have refused to allow the book to be reprinted to prevent incitement of hatred, although the book was so widely printed during the war that it remained relatively easily available.
Under German law, copyright lasts for 70 years, and so publishers now have free access to the original text.
However, German officials have said they will limit public access to the text amid fears that this could stir neo-Nazi sentiment.