German Jews welcome Bavarian decision to publish commented version of Hitler book

The government of the German state of Bavaria has announced that it will soon publish a commented edition of Adolf Hitler's book ‘Mein Kampf’ [‘My Struggle’]. It would be the first time since World War II that a German version of the tome is legally put on sale. The country’s Jewish community said the Bavarian plan was a "good idea".

The Bavarian government holds the copyright to the notorious book written by Hitler during the 1920s, before his rise to power. It said it would release an annotated version of the book as well as an edition for schools before 2015, the year the copyright expires. That way it will be ahead of publishers wanting to exploit Hitler’s book for commercial purposes. The edition aims to “make clear what nonsense is contained in [Mein Kampf]," which brought such “catastrophic consequences," Bavarian Finance Minister Markus Söder said.

Dieter Graumann, the head of Germany’s Jewish community, called the Bavarian decision "responsible". He said he would prefer to see “a competent annotated version from the Bavarian state than profit-seekers trying to make money with Nazis. I would of course prefer if the book disappeared on a dust heap of contempt but that will not happen," Graumann told the news agency AFP.

‘Mein Kampf’ is currently widely available on the internet. Written by Hitler in prison in Bavaria, the two-volume book first published in 1925 and 1926 focuses on the purity of the ‘Aryan race’, Hitler’s hatred of Jews, and his opposition to Communism. It also contains autobiographical extracts. Hitler began the dictation of the book while imprisoned for what he considered to be "political crimes" after his failed coup in Munich in November 1923.

Bavaria had previously refused to reprint the book.

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