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Germany in 'Mein Kampf' copyright quandary

Bavarian authorities seek legal ways to prevent Hitler's work from being published when its copyrights expires in 2015

AFP
Published: 10.26.12, 06:37 / Israel Culture

Authorities in the southern German state of Bavaria say they are considering legal ways to prevent Hitler's "Mein Kampf" from being published when its copyright expires at the end of 2015.

 

The Bavarian culture ministry said in a statement it would "see what legal options we have available to deal with the problem of the free publication of Hitler's book "Mein Kampf" after the copyright runs out".

Banned Publication
Mein Kampf: Publication still banned in Germany / Associated Press
Munich court rules printing excerpts of Hitler's infamous memoir would violate book's copyright held by Bavaria
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Hitler's manifesto Mein Kampf (My Struggle), written in 1924 while the future dictator was languishing in a Bavarian prison, is both a vicious anti-Semitic tract and rambling memoir.

 

The book is not banned as such in Germany but the state of Bavaria, which holds the rights, refuses to permit sales of old copies or reprints - even taking potential publishers to court.

 

Instead, the state announced in April that it would release an edition with historians' commentary as well as a separate version for schools in 2015 in order to beat commercial publishers to the punch.

 

Bavarian Finance Minister Markus Soeder defended this plan, telling monthly magazine Cicero that the tract must be "de-mystified" and calling on the federal German government to get involved.

 

"It is historical chance that the copyright is in Bavaria. But that cannot be a reason for Berlin to distance itself from the issue," Mr Soeder said.

 

Around 10 million copies were published in Germany until 1945, according to British historian Ian Kershaw.

 

From 1936, every German couple marrying received a copy as a wedding gift from the Nazi state.

 

 

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