Historian: Put Mein Kampf back in bookshops with refutations
German expert says keeping anti-Semitic publication off shelves until copyright expires is unwise.
A German historian has called for Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler's anti-Semitic hate book Mein Kampf to be reprinted and put back on sale in German bookshops with notes on its errors, saying this would be preferable to a flood of unrefuted editions.
Horst Moeller, director of the Institute of Contemporary History in Munich, said Monday this would be better than waiting until 2015 when anybody could publish it after copyright in Germany lapses on the book.
The newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung quoted him saying it would be better to issue a edition now, with footnotes explaining page by page how Hitler was wrong.
The alternative would be a rush of cheap commercial editions without comments when the 1924 book enters the public domain 70 years after Hitler's death.
The legal rights to the book are held by the Bavarian Ministry of Finance, which seized all the Nazi Party publishing assets after their 1945 defeat.
For decades, Munich has used those powers to ban any re-publication of the book, which was revered by the Nazis.
A ministry spokesman confirmed that it still never gave permission for the book to be printed in Germany or abroad, although historians may quote from the text for scholarly purposes.
Moeller said he had been also rebuffed by the German Foreign Ministry, which told him Germany's image would suffer if the book were reprinted.
Mein Kampf sets out Hitler's claim that "Aryans" were the founders of human culture and Jews its spoilers as well as his denunciation of "inferior races" and call to seize lebensraum or territory in eastern Europe.
Hitler's book has been re-published in several countries after local copyrights expired.