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Excerpts of Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” To Be Reprinted in Germany

Excerpts of Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” To Be Reprinted in Germany

Jewish groups in Germany and abroad are divided in their reactions to the news that excerpts from Adolf Hitler‘s autobiography “Mein Kampf ”(My Struggle), are to be published in a magazine. Hitler’s words will be carefully excerpted and contextualized with commentaries from renowned historians.

Although it is not technically illegal to reprint “Mein Kampf” in Germany, the book has not been printed there since shortly after World War II. The Bavarian government owns the copyright laws and has not previously permitted any party access to them. But since the copyright on “Mein Kampf” expires in 2015, the time has nearly come for Germany to face Hitler’s autobiography once again, which outlines his anti-Semitic philosophy.

“There is no reason to prolong the inevitable,” said Alexander Luckow, an adviser to the British publisher Peter McGee, who is behind the impetus to publish the excerpts (CNN).

The negative response to this news from many Jews is understandable — especially for Holocaust survivors and their descendants.

“There is a reason that the public display of the swastika is illegal in Germany,” said Elan Steinburg, vice president of the American Gathering of Holocaust Survivors and Their Descendants. “For these same historic and moral reasons, it is offensive to think that kiosks in Berlin will again — 70 years after the end of that evil regime — be selling Hitler’s ‘Mein Kampf.’” (CNN)

Heather Horn of The Atlantic weighs in with a different view in an article titled “Germany’s Outdated, Wrongheaded Ban on Nazi Books Like ‘Mein Kampf.’” She argues that suppressing Nazi materials will do nothing to ensure the continuation of such sentiments, and in fact may lend appeal to Hitler’s ideals by shrouding them in mysticism. Besides, everything is already available on the internet.

“Fighting reprints is no protection against fascism, or even against poor taste and inflammatory rhetoric. Quite the contrary.” (The Atlantic)

I tend to agree with Horn and find myself immediately repelled by any form of book banning or censorship, but Mein Kampf is certainly a step above your run-of-the-mill “bad book.” What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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Photo credit: Philippe AMIOT

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61 comments

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6:31AM PST on Jan 26, 2012

Freedom of speech means the freedom to read books,....

all books............................................

even the most hateful or pinheaded.

7:05PM PST on Jan 25, 2012

william k says it best...

9:28AM PST on Jan 25, 2012

The rantings of a syphillitic megalomaniac...important history nonetheless!

7:31PM PST on Jan 24, 2012

I am leaning toward the position for allowing the book to be reprinted. The thought of it is appalling, but it should not be censored. Doing so would only build up a mystique around it. Plus it is apparently readily available online anyway, so the current ban is ineffective anyway.

12:57PM PST on Jan 24, 2012

Thanks.

2:56PM PST on Jan 23, 2012

@Erika M.... putting finger in mouth to back of throat.....
What a comedian; what a sick comment.

9:29AM PST on Jan 23, 2012

Freedom of speech means the freedom to read books, all books, even the most hateful or pinheaded.

7:37AM PST on Jan 23, 2012

No book should be banned, no matter how crazy the author was. People have a right to make up their own minds and if we keep on hidding books like this from public it is like errasing part of the past. This book is part of history whether we like it or not and it should not be ignored, we are just as bad as the Nazis if we ban people from reading it :-(

6:16PM PST on Jan 22, 2012

What about what the Israelis are doing to the Palestinians, its just like what happened to the Jews under Hitler, only worse.

5:17PM PST on Jan 22, 2012

I strongly oppose censorship and banning of books. The reaon Mein Kampf has not been legally printed since 1945, is that it has been used as literature for the nazi, fascist and other hate ideologies throughout Europe. A reprint of the book to be used in education is not at all as reprehensible as it sounds. Most students today do not get educated about the horrors of the second world war and what the nazi party did, how many Germans that actually voted for the little Austrian and how he came to be in power. It is essential that students learn about these historical facts so we don't get more of holocaust deniers and rightwing extremists voted into national parlaments.

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Judy Molland An award-winning writer and teacher, Judy Molland is also an avid hiker, backpacker, and nature... more
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