Europe

Copyright of Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf expires

  • 1 January 2016
  • From the section Europe
A first edition of Hitler's Mein Kampf. File photo Image copyright AFP
Image caption Hitler's book was first published in 1925

For the first time in 70 years, Adolf Hitler's Nazi manifesto Mein Kampf is to be available to buy in Germany.

Reprinting the anti-Semitic book was banned after WW2 by Bavaria's regional government, which held the copyright.

The copyright has now expired and Munich's Institute of Contemporary History is to publish a new edition.

New versions are expected in many countries. Historians say the book helps academics understand what happened in the Nazi era.

Its annotated version, with thousands of academic notes, will aim to show that Mein Kampf (My Struggle) is incoherent and badly written, rather than powerful or seductive.

Many Jewish groups have welcomed this particular publication, saying it is important to have access to a critical edition to help explain the Holocaust, reports the BBC's Damien McGuinness in Berlin.

Mein Kampf was originally printed in 1925 - eight years before Hitler came to power.

After Nazi Germany was defeated in 1945, the Allied forces handed the copyright to the book to the state of Bavaria.

The local authorities have refused to allow the book to be reprinted to prevent incitement of hatred, although the book was so widely printed during the war that it remained relatively easily available.

Under European copyright law, the rights of an author of a literary or artistic work runs for the life of the author and for 70 years after his death - in Hitler's case on 30 April 1945, when he shot himself in his bunker in Berlin.

Those rights cease on the first day of January 70 years after the author's death, and so publishers now have free access to the original text.

However, German officials have said they will limit public access to the text amid fears that this could stir neo-Nazi sentiment.

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