Plans to reprint Adolf Hitler’s infamous autobiography, Mein Kampf, have been met with mixed emotions in Germany.
Part-manifesto and part-autobiography, the book has not had a reprint since the Nazi ruler’s death in 1945, but an expiry of copyright has lit the way for a two-volume critical edition.
The 2000-page book, which translates to “My Struggle” has been a three-year project for the Munich’s Institute for Contemporary History, and will go on sale in January.
By the time of Hitler’s death, the book had sold 12 million copies, but after Germany’s defeat the allied powers handed over copyright of the book to the state of Bavaria.
Since then, Bavaria has decided not to reprint the book in respect for victims of the Holocaust and for fear of breaking German law.
But that 70-year copyright will expire at the end of 2015, and it seems Germans are deeply divided on whether the allow the book to re-enter the mainstream.
A YouGov survey revealed 51 per cent of Germans would like to see the ban on the book lifted, while Hitler biographer Peter Longerich said the topic was becoming less taboo.
“We are probably entering a phase in which you can do more with Hitler and texts about him than you did 10 or 20 years ago.
“In the age of mass media, taboos are constantly broken and texts cannot be locked away,” he told Reuters.
The Central Council of Jews in Germany said they supported a continuation of the ban.
“After the expiry of the copyright, there is a very big risk that this sorry effort of a work will be more widely available,” Council President Josef Schuster said in a statement.
Meanwhile, the Munich Institute stressed the importance of the text as an educational tool.
“The aim … is to present Mein Kampf as a salient source document for contemporary history, to describe the context of the genesis of Hitler’s world view,” it said.