Bavaria considers use of Mein Kampf in school curriculum

The Bavarian parliament was debating Thursday whether an annotated version of Adolf Hitler's opus Mein Kampf should be authorized for educational use in schools and other establishments.

The 2,000-page version of the text, which climbed to the top spot on Der Spiegel's nonfiction bestseller list this month, includes 3,700 annotations that attempt to provide context to Hitler's anti-Semitic rhetoric and lay bare his Nazi propaganda.

It was first released in January after the copyright handed over to a Bavarian ministry by the Allies after World War II expired. The ministry had refrained from republishing the text for seven decades for fear of stoking anti-Semitism.

Opposition parties in Bavaria, including the Social Democrats, the Greens and the Free Voters, are pushing for the book's use in schools to educate young people about the country's history.

A subdivision of Bavaria's Education Ministry is drafting a manual on how the book could be integrated into the curriculum. It is set to be completed in October.

Josef Kraus, head of the German Teachers' Association, said excerpts of the text should be used in the classroom to teach children about racism and extremism, but that a minimum age of 16 should be required.

Academics including Ulrich Baumgaertner of Munich's Ludwig Maximilian University argue that working with original sources is important for young people's understanding of historical events.

"Mein Kampf is the main source for understanding Nazi ideology," he said. "Under the National Socialists, the book became a bible for the movement - as an original source, it has particular significance."

Jewish community leaders, including Charlotte Knobloch - the former president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany - argue against using the text in schools on the basis that it contains hate speech.

"I do not think Hitler's anti-Semitic concoction of hate is suitable for the classroom," Knobloch said Thursday. "I don't want to imagine what would happen if the bell rang before the lesson providing clarification of the book's misanthropic content is complete."

The annotated version made its debut on German bestseller lists in January and climbed to the top spot of Der Spiegel's nonfiction ranking two weeks ago. It has now sold 55,000 copies.

Last update: Thu, 28/04/2016 - 15:54

View the discussion thread.

More from Europe

Spanish Socialists resolve crisis as minority government looms

 Spain is set to have its first fully functional government in 10 months after the centre-left Socialist Party (PSOE...

Police in stand-off with man in London flat hoarding "combustibles"

British armed police on Sunday entered the third day of a stand-off with a man suspected of having "combustible...

German foreign minister says EU break-up is a real threat

The break-up of the European Union is a real possibility, warns German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier in...

Report: Three dead amid two gas blasts in Russia

A pair of gas explosions striking homes claimed at least three lives Sunday and left at least 20 wounded, according...

Danish queen writes that residency doesn't make a person Danish

Living in Denmark is not enough to make a person Danish, writes Danish Queen Margrethe II in her new book, a...