German Jewish leaders back continued ban on Hitler book

German Jewish leaders have said they will accept publication next year of a German edition Mein Kampf that has been annotated by historians to identity the lies and insults by its author, the Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler.

But they urged that anyone who tries to publish a plain edition of the Nazi book on German soil be punished. Copyright in Germany on the book expires at the end of this month, 70 calendar years after Hitler's death, and it will enter the public domain.

"Prosecuting authorities should crack down hard on the distribution and sale of the book," Josef Schuster, president of the council, told the newspaper Handelsblatt on Thursday.

German state officials have already announced that sedition charges will be pressed if anyone publishes a plain edition of Mein Kampf, which translates as My Struggle.

Under the Nazis, the book written in 1924 while Hitler was in prison was given to newly-weds as a gift and its circulation totalled 9.8 million. Its publication has been blocked since 1945 by the state of Bavaria, which seized Hitler's assets including his copyright.

The IfZ institute of modern history in Munich has said it will publish its two-volume annotated edition in January. The national Jewish organization was initially sceptical, but Schuster said he had no objection to a scholarly edition usable in education.

Last update: Thu, 03/12/2015 - 17:02

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