Germany: Who owns Mein Kampf?

5 February 2010 – Presseurop Süddeutsche Zeitung


"One of the reasons why Adolf Hitler’s fellow prisoners in Landsberg Castle encouraged him to write his book was because they wouldn't have to listen to his tirades anymore,” the Süddeutsche Zeitung reminds its readers. The first edition came out in 1925. Although Mein Kampf was a cash cow for the Nazi regime, since then it has caused nothing but headaches for Bavaria, which has owned the rights since the end of the Second World War. The Land has been powerless to prevent its publication abroad and anyone will be free to publish the Führer’s thoughts in Germany when the term of copyright expires in 2015. The Bavarian Finance Ministry, which opposes any new edition prior to this date, is embroiled in a standoff with the Institute of Contemporary History in Munich, which has long sought to publish a critical edition of the book. The Institute has commissioned two historians to write the critical annotations. “The sooner there is a critical edition providing readers with arguments against a neo-Nazi transfiguration of the text, the better,” its assistant director explains in the Munich daily. The Institute intends to publish a free online edition before 2015 if it can reach an agreement with the Bavarian government.

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