"Hitler, Mein Kampf. A Critical Edition" – The volumes that arrived at the National Library of Israel
Seventy years after his death the copyright of Adolf Hitler's notorious Mein Kampf has finally expired. The government of Bavaria, who up until that point held the rights to the book after his death, worked tirelessly to keep the book from being re-published in Germany. They knew that once the copyright would expire, they would have no way of stopping the book from being indiscriminately published.
Up until the copyright expiration, any publication of the book in Germany would have been illegal and thus pirated. Globally, various and sundry translations of Mein Kampf could and still can be found in India, the Middle East, and the United States.
With this in mind, the Institute of Contemporary History in Munich and Berlin decided to publish the book. This time in the form of a critical edition, with an annotation and footnote at practically every word, in the hope of demystifying the hateful text and Hitler himself.
At 2000 pages, with over 3000 footnotes, spanning two cloth-bound volumes, it weighs as much as it looks (almost 6 kg, that is 13 lbs), and is a far cry from the popular paperback that every German citizen carried with them during the Nazi regime.
Despite criticism from Jewish organization in Germany and around the world who view this republishing as antagonistic and likely to bring forth a fresh wave of anti-semitism in Germany, the Institute of Contemporary History pushed forward.
The Institute views this critical edition not as a way of publishing Hitler's philosophy, but rather as way to untangle his lies and emphasize his manipulations and the source of his evil.
It is worth noting that the copyright expiration would have happened regardless and the book itself has become public domain and yet, this hefty publication of annotations, footnotes, and critical additions, is a best-seller, at the price of 59 Euros a piece.
This article was written with the kind help of Archivist Dr. Stefan Litt.