Germany Decides to Extend Ban on Hitler's 'Mein Kampf'
Germany wants to uphold an effective post-war ban on the publication of genocidal Nazi leader Adolf Hitler's manifesto "Mein Kampf" after its copyright comes up for grabs at the end of next year, officials said Thursday.
Justice ministers from the 16 German regional states agreed that reprints of the racist 1924 book, in which Hitler railed against the "Jewish peril," should still be prevented beyond the rights' expiry date.
Since World War II Bavaria state, which holds the rights because Hitler was officially a resident of Munich when he died, has maintained an effective ban on the book in Germany by blocking any reprints.
But those rights expire at the end of 2015, 70 years after Hitler committed suicide as the genocidal Nazi war machine crumbled.
An annotated version of "Mein Kampf" ("My Struggle") being compiled by a historical institute is, however, expected to still be published, after Bavaria flip-flopped in January saying it would not seek to prevent it.
Bavarian Justice Minister Winfried Bausback has welcomed the "clear signal against intolerance, xenophobia and anti-Semitism" of his regional counterparts by extending the ban.
"Germany has a particular historic responsibility which we must fulfill," he said, adding the world was closely watching Germany's handling of the "inhuman" book.
"We want to consistently exhaust the available means of criminal law - we owe that to the victims of the Holocaust and their relatives," he said.
Justice ministers agreed at a two-day meeting in the Baltic coastal resort of Binz that any non-annotated version of "Mein Kampf" is to be prevented after the rights' expiry on December 31, 2015.
They also asked chief public prosecutors to discuss the legal issues with the federal public prosecutor general and report back.
Hitler started writing "Mein Kampf" in prison after his failed putsch of 1923. After his rise to power, millions of copies were published. From 1936, the Nazi regime gave a copy to all newlyweds as a wedding gift.
The anti-Semitic genocidal book is a best-seller in the Arab world, as well as in Turkey, and has been made popular in the North Korean dictatorship also. In January, the book was found to be a best-seller on the online store Amazon.