'Mein Kampf' to be taught in German schools

Adolf Hiter's autobiography Mein Kampf is poised to be published again in Germany, where Nazism took root and once flourished- some 67 years after it was last published in the country. The copyright for the hate-filled and racist book has been kept out of public view since the end of the Second World War by law, but will make a comeback in 2015 when the copyright expires. At that time, an annotated version will be made available to school across Germany.

The state of Bavaria, which became the heir to all of Hitler's works, property and money following his 1945 suicide in Berlin, claims the children should have copies available that include expert analysis and comments from historians which refute Nazi ideology, the Daily Mail reported. Even though it is legal to possess a copy of Mein Kampf, any printing or prominent displays of the book are prohibited out of concern that it may still inspire racism and Nazism.

Bavaria has now given permission for the rest of Germany to freely print the book, with includes diatribes against Jews and Slavs and the prophecy of a German war of conquest in the east. Mein Kampf, which translates as My Struggle or My Battle, is a combination of Hitler's autobiography and political ideology. Mein Kampf was written while he was in jail following the failed 1923 Munich Putsch and was published in 1925. The book includes racist diatribes against Jews and their 'twin evil', communism.

Hitler argued that Germany would be forced to fight a war in the east as it secured 'lebensraum' - or living room - for its citizens at the expense of Slavs, whom he also viewed as inferior. The book explains why Germany was to expand eastward, with invasions of Czechoslovakia and Poland before attacking Russia.

As a form of manifesto, Hitler argued in the book that Germany would be better off without parliamentary government, which he blamed for the country's economic problems and political upheaval before he took power.

"The editions we plan will contain comments from experts that are clearly understandable to the young so they can clearly understand and therefore interpet the dangerous ideas within. We will demystify this work," announced Bavaria's finance minister Markus Soeder in Nuremberg.

The book was once a bigger seller during the days of the Third Reich than the Bible and royalties from it made Hitler incredibly wealthy.

But with the rise of the Internet and numerous pirated copies of the work published abroad, Bavaria believes it is better to have some control over the work when the state loses its copyright than none at all. There have been repeated disputes over publication of Mein Kampf. British publisher Peter McGee was recently forbidden from publishing annotated extracts from the book in a weekly historical newspaper. McGee's initiative prompted the chairman of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, Dieter Graumann, who said that he was not strongly opposed to the project. For him "the best thing would be that there is no publication, but should there be one, then it must be accompanied by comments of historians."



Spero News editor Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. He is also a freelance translator.

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