Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf, which the Washington Post describes as a "kind of Nazi bible," has long been hidden away in Germany; the state of Bavaria, holder of the rights to the book, has prevented it from being republished since the end of World War II. But at the end of this year, the state loses those rights, and a new edition of the racist volume will soon arrive, the Post reports. It will be annotated and presented as an academic work rather than a guidebook to hate; some 4,000 notations will expand a 700-page book into a 2,000-page one stretching across two volumes, the New York Times reports. The annotations will reject Hitler's racist arguments, but that hasn't prevented deep concern.
"This book is too dangerous for the general public," says a library historian, while an advocate against anti-Semitism wonders: "Can you annotate the Devil?" Further complicating the issue, the new edition is being published by a historical society financed by taxpayers, the Post notes; the society doesn't want the book to become a commercial publication, the Times reports. A sample sentence describes Jews as "the eternal parasite, a freeloader that, like a malignant bacterium, spreads rapidly whenever a fertile breeding ground is made available to it.” A Jewish leader in Munich worries that the book "is a Pandora’s box that, once opened again, cannot be closed.” Such fears are particularly pronounced at a time when anti-Semitism in Europe is once again rearing its head; last week saw hundreds of Jewish graves defiled in France.