‘Anti-Hitler’ Mein Kampf? Germany to republish Nazi leader’s manifesto after 70 years

Reuters/Pierre Logwin
Adolf Hitler’s ‘Mein Kampf’ will be published in Germany for the first time since World War II, though scholars have heavily annotated the 2016 edition, turning the Nazi leader’s infamous manifesto into an “anti-Hitler” text.

Researchers at the Munich Institute for Contemporary History (IfZ) have been preparing the edition since 2010 in anticipation of the expiration of the copyright deadline for the book, which comes 70 years after the author’s death.

Hitler shot himself on April 30, 1945 as advancing Soviet troops were engaged in street battles with Nazi forces just several blocks away from his bunker in Berlin.

IfZ deputy director, Magnus Brechtken, told The Local website that the new ‘Mein Kampf’ edition will consist of two volumes, totaling 2,000 pages.

Less than a half of those pages will be occupied by Hitler's original 27 chapters, with the rest being made up of around 5,000 comments by the academics, an introduction and the index.

Last year, IfZ director Andreas Wirsching, said that the institute have turned its edition of ‘Mein Kampf’ into “an anti-Hitler text.”

The German State of Bavaria currently owns the rights for the book, but they expire at the end of 2015.

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Bavarian authorities initially supported the republication of ‘Mein Kampf’, promising to invest €500,000 into the project in 2012.

State of Bavaria minister-president, Horst Seehofer, however, ultimately changed his stance on the project after a trip to Israel.

In 2014, justice ministers from all the German states ruled to prolong the ban on publishing non-annotated copies of “Mein Kampf” in the country.

Issuing an unedited copy of the book will result in prosecution for incitement to hatred, the ministers warned.

A spokeswoman for the Bavarian justice ministry said IfZ’s academic edition of Hitler’s work should be legal under certain conditions.

‘Mein Kampf’, which Hitler wrote while in prison after a failed coup attempt, was first issued in 1925, presenting the basics of his National Socialist ideology, which was later accepted by Nazi Germany.

The book is forbidden as extremist across the EU, in Russia, China, Argentina and many other countries.

Mein Kampf’ is available in most libraries in the US and is freely distributed, however, due to the country’s strong free speech protections. It sells around 15,000 copies annually.