Educators, retailers mull tackling Mein Kampf once copyright expires
Munich (dpa) – The German Teachers’ Association said Friday that it would incorporate a new edition of Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf into its lesson plan after copyright on the work expires, while booksellers grappled with their approach to selling reprints.
The copyright for Hitler’s infamous work – part autobiography, part political manifesto, part anti-Semitic diatribe – expires at the end of 2015, paving the way for the release of a 2,000-page, annotated edition authored by Munich’s Institute for Contemporary History (IfZ).
“Professional treatment of text excerpts in class can be an important contributor to immunizing youth against political extremism,” Josef Kraus, head of the teachers’ association, told Handelsblatt daily.
Kraus has called on Germany’s Culture Ministry to lay down a framework for teaching the new edition of Mein Kampf, or My Struggle, to students aged 16 and upwards.
He argued that it would be foolish to ignore the work in schools and that prohibition could lead to greater demand among youngsters for the text online.
Meanwhile, booksellers in Germany have been soul-searching ahead of the book’s January release.
Online marketplace Amazon told dpa it has decided to donate all proceeds from sales of the IfZ publication to charitable causes.
Thalia, a chain of more than 200 book shops in Germany, will not display the book on its shelves, but customers will be allowed to order it when explicitly requested, the retailer told dpa in a survey of booksellers.
“No separate presentation of the book is planned,” a Thalia spokeswoman said.
Competitors Hugendubel said: “In principle, our customers can obtain everything from us that is not in our index.” Chief executive Nina Hugendubel did not specify whether the retailer would display the new Mein Kampf edition in its shops.