A fresh controversy has erupted around one of the most dangerous books in literary history - Hitler's "Mein Kampf." A Munich-based institute now wants to republish the Nazi manifesto on racial purity and anti-Semitism.
Germany is yet undecided on what to do with 'Mein Kampf'
A German history institute has announced it is preparing an annotated version of Adolf Hitler's propaganda manifesto "Mein Kampf" for publication in Germany.
Edith Raim, a historian with the Munich-based Institute of Contemporary History, which is behind the project, said an annotated version of Hitler's memoir would serve to inform current and future generations of the evils of the dictator's racist ideology.
"We want to obstruct new publications [of "Mein Kampf"] by the radical far-right once the copyright of the book runs out," said Raim.
A new edition of "Mein Kampf" can only be published after 2015, when the copyright held by the Bavarian state government expires, 70 years after Hitler's death.
"Mein Kampf," or "My Struggle" as it translates into English, contains Hitler's views on racial purity and vitriol against Jews and Communists.
Raim said that publishing the book could help dispel the fear and reverence many feel towards it. She said she did not believe the new publication would be used by neo-Nazis to stir racism and hatred towards foreigners.
Some fear neo-Nazis will use the new book as a bible
"This book will be published with scholarly annotation and will have a very limited run," she said. "After all, it'll be so expensive that I cannot imagine that any neo-Nazi will ever buy it."
German authorities still consider "Mein Kampf" to be dangerous. It has not been allowed to be reprinted here since the end of World War II.
Some academics argue that the book doesn't provide any answers to questions about how the Nazi regime gained power, as it primarily contains Hitler's own personal views.
In a statement on Thursday, the state government of Bavaria, which holds the copyright, said it had not given the institute permission to print the book and would seek to ban the publication in court.
"Furthermore, following the expiration of the copyright in 2015, the spreading of National-Socialist ideas in Germany will remain forbidden and punishable under the Criminal Code," the statement added.
The Institute of Contemporary History has pointed out that copies of the original "Mein Kampf" can easily be bought outside of Germany and that it would be wrong to leave the local market to foreign publishing houses once the copyright expires.
Editor: Nancy Isenson