The German state which owns the rights to Adolf Hitler’s manifesto "Mein Kampf" said Tuesday it would release an annotated version 70 years after the Nazi dictator’s suicide.
After winning a court battle last month against a British publisher who planned to publish parts of the anti-Semitic book alongside commentary from historians, Bavaria said it would put out its own edition by 2015.
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State Finance Minister Markus Soeder told German news agency DPA the decision was taken after round-table talks with advocates and opponents of the move, and said it was aimed at “demystifying” the pages drenched in hatred and paranoid fantasy.
Hitler's 'Meim Kampf (Photo: AP)
"We want to make clear what nonsense is in there, however with catastrophic consequences," Soeder said of the book on which much of the Nazis’ genocidal policies were based.
He said the state aimed with the release to already make future publication as “commercially unattractive” as possible.
In addition to the annotated book, the state also plans to put out an edition for schools that encourages a critical approach to the work.
Holocaust survivors and their families have expressed fears that neo-Nazis could seize upon the book as propaganda.
A court in the state capital Munich ruled in March that British publisher Peter McGee would violate Bavaria’s copyright on the work if he went ahead with plans to sell excerpts with explanations and commentary on German newsstands. McGee has vowed to appeal the decision.
Hitler wrote “Mein Kampf” (“My Struggle”), in 1924 while languishing in a Bavarian prison, and combined elements of autobiography with his views on Aryan “racial purity”, his hatred of Jews and his opposition to communism.
Millions of copies were distributed before his death in 1945.
It is not banned as such in Germany but since the end of World War II, Bavaria — which holds the rights until the end of 2015 — has not permitted reprints.
From 2016, third parties will be able to release copies of the work without obtaining permission from the state "unless it is used to incite racial hatred," Soeder said.
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