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Books

How booksellers will deal with 'Mein Kampf'

An annotated edition of Adolf Hitler's "Mein Kampf" will be released in German in January. Amazon plans to donate its proceeds. Many bookstores seem uncomfortable with promoting the anti-Semitic work.

Hitler's manifesto has not been published in Germany since 1945. The government of the state of Bavaria controlled the rights of the Nazi work, but now, 70 years after the death of the dictator, the copyright expires.

The Institut für Zeitgeschichte (Institute of Contemporary History) in Munich has prepared an almost 2,000-page long scholarly edition of the controversial work, which will hit the bookstores in January.

Now major booksellers are reflecting on how they will deal with the long-forbidden militaristic screed.

Hitler prepared his lengthy autobiographical work during his time in prison, after he tried to grab power in Munich in 1923 through a failed putsch. Promoting his anti-Semitic ideas, the book became popular and helped him rise to power in 1933. The royalties from the sales created a small fortune for him.

Now retailers are trying to determine what they will do with the revenues generated by the new edition. Online retailer Amazon has announced that it will donate the proceeds to charity, according to a spokesperson.

The German bookstore chain Thalia said it is not planning to promote the book and will only order it "if a customer explicitly wishes a copy," said a company representative.

Competing chain Hugendubel declared: "Our customers can find everything in our store that is not prohibited," but manager Nina Hudendubel did not specify how and if the book will be on display in her stores.

The German Publishers and Booksellers Association did not provide any specific guidelines on how to market the new edition of "Mein Kampf," but expects "its members to deal with the commented edition of the work responsibly."

eg/rf (dpa, AFP)

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