Sunday, July 22, 2007

Mein Kampf ban 'should end in Germany'

By Harry de Quetteville
Last Updated: 2:59am BST 19/07/2007

A leading historian has called for Hitler's notorious treatise Mein Kampf to be published again in Germany to expose the nation to the incoherent ramblings of the Nazi dictator.

Known for its cocktail of pro-Aryan propaganda and anti-Semitism, the book has been effectively banned since 1945, with Bavarian state authorities, which hold the copyright, refusing demands to print on the grounds that it would be an affront to victims of the Nazis.

But with copyright due to expire in 2015, Horst Möller has said that the time has come to print a scholarly edition to pre-empt and debunk sensational neo-Nazis versions.

"As long as a carefully annotated edition of Mein Kampf doesn't exist, the simple-minded speculations about the book's contents won't end," said Mr Möller.

"The book is badly written, it's put together from all kinds of different sources and consists of many incendiary tirades. An academic edition could break the peculiar myth which surrounds Mein Kampf."

The idea of a reprint has been swiftly criticised by Jewish groups. Wolfgang Benz, who heads the centre for Anti-Semitism Research in Berlin, described it as "absurd". Salomon Korn, of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, said it would be an insult to Holocaust survivors.

But Mr Möller said: "It's not justifiable to prohibit this document out of fear that it might have a negative, symbolic effect."

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