Call to lift German Mein Kampf ban

By Jessica Elgot, August 6, 2009

Germany’s main Jewish representative organisation has renewed its efforts to overturn the state’s ban on publishing Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf.

Stephan Kramer, secretary-general of the Central Council for Jews in Germany has called for the publication of a scholarly edition of the book, with footnotes challenging Hitler’s assertions, claiming it would prevent black market printing of the book where neo-Nazi groups profit.

Mr Kramer also argued that continuing to ban the book would glamorise it, and that Germans were sophisticated enough to make up their own minds.

He told The Daily Telegraph: "An aggressive and enlightening engagement with the book would doubtless remove many of its false, persistent myths,

"One must also not forget that this sorry effort was an obligatory wedding present in Germany for 12 years.

“That means this book undoubtedly is owned by many German families by being passed down."

The publication of the book is still illegal in Germany, but the sale is not illegal and many editions can be found in second-hand shops.

The new edition of Mein Kampf is being devised by Munich’s Institute of Contemporary History. The project has received the backing of Wolfgang Heubisch, Bavaria's Science Minister

Stephan Kramer

Stephan Kramer

It will include an introduction critical of the views expressed in Hitler’s controversial book. He wrote much of it in prison in 1923, when he was incarcerated in Munich for a failed coup. In the book he sets out his vision for Germany’s future, including Jewish extermination.

In 2015 — 70 years after Hitler died in his bunker in Berlin — German copyright law means that Mein Kampf could be published freely. German Jewish leaders fear this could lead to a publishing free-for-all.

The decision to resume publishing ultimately rests with the German Finance Ministry, which has stated its intention to find a way to extend the ban on Mein Kampf, citing Jewish interests.

Last updated: 11:53am, August 6 2009