Friday, February 19, 2010

Mein Kampf Allowed in Germany?

According to MSNBC, historians in Germany are hoping to reprint Hitler's "Mein Kampf," My Struggle in English. Although it is available throughout the world, including on the Internet and at Pelham Public Library in Canada, this memoir has been banned from being republished in Germany since the end of WWII. Possession of the book is not illegal but the purchase of old copies is carefully regulated, limiting the sales except for research purposes.

The copyright will run out in 2015. Presently a government body holds the right to the memoir but once the copyright runs out, the door will be open for anyone to republish it, including neo-Nazi groups. Historians want to publish an authoritative annotated edition to thwart these groups from appropriating and glamorizing this infamous work.

According to the article, "Edith Raim, a historian at the Munich institute, envisions a thorough, academic presentation that places Hitler's work in historical context. She says that would be the best defense against those who might want to use the book to advance racist or anti-Semitic agendas."

The Bavarain Finance Ministry which had opposed a similar proposal two years ago believes it can keep the publication of "Mein Kampf" banned under laws against incitement to hatred beyond 2015.

The issues to balance out are respect for Jewish victims of Hitler's regime vs. the opportunity to demystify the work. Some concerns have been raised about who will annotate the volume and whether this is really necessary.

It is time once more for our Banned Book Challenge. Choose a goal for the number of challenged or banned books you can read between Feb. and June. Let us know about your goal on our form, so we can keep track. Not sure what to read? Check out our suggested reading and the many links on the right side bar.

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