A dark piece of German history will be hitting stores in the country again very soon.
Earlier this week, Germany’s Institute for Contemporary History (IfZ) announced details of its plan to publish the first local German edition of Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf since World War II. Scheduled for release in January 2016, the IfZ sees its project as a scholarly work, picking apart and pointing out the flaws within the ideological basis of Nazism. It will add over 1,250 pages of academic critique (and 4,000 annotations) to Hitler’s original 748-page text, which first appeared in 1925 in the aftermath of the then-prisoner’s failed 1923 Munich Beer Putsch uprising.
The government of the Free State of Bavaria, which holds the book’s copyright, has blocked publication of the notorious tome in Germany for the past 70 years, but they never actually instated a law banning it. The German Supreme Court ruled in the 1980s that the possession and sale of the millions of copies printed before the war was perfectly legal (although Bavaria still gets to restrict access to copies in public reference collections). Instead, they have restricted new editions locally and tried to block copies internationally and online using their ownership of the book’s copyright, which was seized along with many other Hitler assets in 1945. But as of December 31, 2015, the state’s copyright will expire.
Just because the copyright will be up at the end of this year, does not mean that books will flood the market. But with fears of immigration and the presence of Islam in many European countries coupled with the rise of Neo-Nazism in Germany, France and throughout the U.K., don’t be shocked if “Mein Kampf” becomes a best-seller very soon.