Tuesday December 29, 2015

The Struggle Over Mein Kampf

A signed copy of Adolph Hitler's Mein Kampf. (Photo by Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images)

A signed copy of Adolph Hitler's Mein Kampf. (Photo by Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images)

Listen to Full Episode 53:58

What should be done with Hitler's autobiography Mein Kampf? Scholars in Munich have just finished a new, heavily annotated version of the book before the copyright expires on December 31, 2015. They want to pre-empt neo-Nazis from being the sole bearers of the F├╝hrer's message. But they're facing a barrage of criticism. Sean Prpick explores the debate. **This episode originally aired June 6, 2014.

Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf was one of the greatest bestsellers of all time, going through more than 1,000 editions and selling more than 12-million copies between its original publication in 1924 and 1945. It's also one of the most despicable works of literature ever.

The Free State of Bavaria has, more or less, kept the lid on Mein Kampf in Germany since seizing copyright control of the work in the days immediately after World War II. Although many tried, virtually no publisher in Germany has been allowed to legally print the work since 1945, to the frustration of many Neo-Nazis who regard the book as holy writ.

But Bavaria's control, already undermined by plentiful used copies in Germany, along with push button access via downloads from the Internet, comes to final end when copyright on the book expires New Year's Eve 2015.

Participants in the program:

Dan Michman is the Head of the International Institute for Holocaust Research at the Yad Vashem Memorial and Research Rentre in Jerusalem.

Doris Bergen is the Chancellor Rose and Ray Wolfe Professor of Holocaust Studies at the University of Toronto.

Neil Gregor is a professor of history at the University of Southampton, U.K., and the author of How To Read Hitler.

Magnus Brechtken is the Deputy-Director of the Institute of Contemporary History in Munich and an expert on the history of Nazi Germany.

Charlotte Knobloch is a Vice President of the European Jewish Congress and the World Jewish Congress and has led organizations representing the Jewish community in both Bavaria and Germany as a whole.

Rainer Volk is an historian and radio producer with SWR Radio in Baden-Baden, Germany.

Giles Bennett is a graduate student at the Institute for Contemporary History in Munich.

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