Bavaria may introduce Hitler's Mein Kampf in schools to ‘immunize’ youngsters

© Fabrizio Bensch
The Bavarian parliament has held a discussion on whether Hitler’s notorious ‘Mein Kampf’ should become a part of the school curriculum. The idea was blasted by the country’s Jewish groups who called the book an “antisemitic concoction of hatred.”

The Parliament conducted a plenary session on Thursday with the opposition parties including the Social Democrats, the Greens and the Free Voters pushing for the book to be included in the education program. During the session the politicians discussed whether the new annotated version of ‘Mein Kampf’ should be included in Bavaria’s school programs, and if so, how exactly it should be taught.

While supporters of the controversial idea insist the book is vital for the teaching of history, representatives from the Jewish community argued that the book does not contain any useful knowledge.

“I think Hitler's antisemitic concoction of hatred is not a suitable for teaching,” said the former president of the Central Council of Jews and head of the Jewish Community of Munich and Upper Bavaria Charlotte Knobloch, DPA news agency reported.

“I hope that the parliament came to the decision that ‘Mein Kampf’ is not recommended as a suitable material for educational use,” Knobloch added.

Earlier Knobloch warned the new edition is most likely spark interest in the original text and ideology, rather than in the commentary provided to challenge Hitler’s ideas.

Thousands of copies of “Hilter, Mein Kampf: A Critical Edition” have been sold since January when the new annotated version appeared on Germany’s shelves after the state of Bavaria removed a 70-year copyright on the book. It is the first time the text was printed since the times of the Second World War.

Even before the release of the annotated version, the German Teacher’s Association proposed that the Nazi manifesto be taught in high schools to help “immunize” youngsters against far-right ideologies. The heads of the association said Mein Kampf is better taught as a revised edition by “professionally trained politics teachers,” rather than being accessed by youngsters on the web without any guidance.

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“A professional use of excerpts from the [original] text for lecturing can be an important tool for immunization of teenagers against political extremism,” the president of the association, Josef Kraus, told Handelsblatt newspaper.

The 2,000-page version with as many as 3,700 annotations aimed at providing context behind Hitler’s Nazi propaganda climbed to the top spot on Der Spiegel's nonfiction bestseller list this month.