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Hilter's 'Mein Kampf' to be republished in Germany for first time in 75 years

By Danielle Haynes

MUNICH, Germany, Feb. 24 (UPI) -- Researchers in Germany are on track to publish a heavily annotated version of Adolf Hitler's book "Mein Kampf," the first time the tome has been printed in the country in 75 years.

The copyright for the 1924 biographical manifesto, currently held by the free state of Bavaria in Germany, is set to expire at the end of 2015, 70 years after the dictator's death in the spring of 1945.

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Despite denazification laws that went into place after the end of World War II in Germany banning Nazi iconography, the anti-Semitic book was never banned. Bavaria, though, never allowed any publishers to reprint the book, and the government never published it itself, until now.

The Institute for Contemporary History began work on a scholarly version of Hitler's book in 2010. Work was briefly halted in 2013 after the government stopped funding due to public outcry.

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Ultimately, the institute continued its work out of its own budget and says it plans to publish the 2,000-page book, nearly three times the length of the original 700-page manifest, in January. Included with the original text will be scholarly notes and critical commentary about Hitler's written work.

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"I understand some immediately feel uncomfortable when a book that played such a dramatic role is made available again to the public," Magnus Brechtken, the institute's deputy director, told The Washington Post. "On the other hand, I think that this is also a useful way of communicating historical education and enlightenment -- a publication with the appropriate comments, exactly to prevent these traumatic events from ever happening again."

Others aren't so supportive of the book's publication in Germany.

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"I am absolutely against the publication of 'Mein Kampf,' even with annotations. Can you annotate the devil? Can you annotate a person like Hitler?" said Levi Salomon, spokesman for the Jewish Forum for Democracy and Against Anti-Semitism in Berlin. "This book is outside of human logic."

Charlotte Knobloch, head of the Jewish Community in Munich, said she initially wasn't a strong opponent of the project, but that changed after she spoke to Holocaust survivors who oppose the publication.

"This book is most evil; it is a worse anti-Semitic pamphlet and a guidebook for the Holocaust," she said "It is a Pandora's Box that, once opened again, cannot be closed."

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