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Publish Hitler, Say German Jews

Leader struggles for an annotated ‘Mein Kampf’

Liel Leibovitz
August 06, 2009
Mein Kampf on display at Yad Vashem.(David Silverman/Getty Images)
Mein Kampf on display at Yad Vashem.(David Silverman/Getty Images)

Reading Mein Kampf in Germany is no easy task: the book is currently banned from publication, and the Bavarian state, which holds the copyright to Hitler’s mad manifesto, will only dispense previously printed copies to individuals who can prove that their interest in the book is purely academic. This may soon change, however. A powerful public figure in Germany called this week for a reprint of Hitler’s work, complete with introductory notes that would place it in proper context. He is Stephan Kramer, the general secretary of Germany’s Central Council of Jews. “I’m basically in favor of the book being made publicly accessible with annotation,” Kramer told German radio, adding that it would be wise to also make the annotated book available online. The Bavarians, however, remain unmoved. Renewing Mein Kampf’s publication, the state’s finance ministry said in a recent statement, “would get enormous political attention worldwide, and probably be met with incomprehension.” Once again, Bavaria shows little regard for the Jews.

Liel Leibovitz is editor-at-large for Tablet Magazine and a host of its weekly culture podcast Unorthodox and daily Talmud podcast Take One. He is the editor of Zionism: The Tablet Guide.