— A German
publisher of right-wing books has begun selling a reprint of Adolf Hitler’s “Mein Kampf,” originally issued in 1943 by the Nazi party’s central publishing house, a move that risks violating Germany’s law against the distribution of Nazi propaganda.
A copyright on “Mein Kampf” that was held by the Bavarian government expired on Dec. 31, and an annotated scholarly edition was published this year with government permission.
Now, state prosecutors in the German city of Leipzig
, where the publisher, Der Schelm, is based, are investigating whether they can press charges . Last week, prosecutors in Bamberg opened a separate investigation after a bookseller, who was not identified, advertised Der Schelm’s edition.
Although Hitler’s two-volume treatise, written from 1924 to 1927 and laying out his ideas on race and violence, is widely available on the internet, the annotated version is the only one that is legal in Germany. The 3,500 comments accompanying the text provide context for the work, and they are aimed, in part, at trying to prevent a new generation from taking up Nazi ideologies.
“Promoting an edition without annotations is considered a criminal offense,” Christopher Rosenbusch, a spokesman for prosecutors in Bamberg, said on Wednesday.
The Der Schelm edition is advertised as “unchanged and without comment, for critical assessment.” The house, which also offers a reprinted edition of the German translation of Henry Ford’s “International Jew,” encourages its readers to “have the courage to make your own judgment.”
The move comes as a new far-right political party, Alternative for Germany, has risen in popularity, in part, by appealing to fears linked to the arrival last year of a million migrants and by questioning many of the liberal policies and premises that have dominated public discourse in postwar Germany.