Mein Kampf is coming back. The copyright on Hitler's "anti-Semitic manifesto" expires Friday, and with the book in the public domain, several publishers are planning new editions. The German state of Bavaria has held the copyright in Germany since 1945 and has forbidden the book from being republished. But there is much debate as to whether the new, annotated reprints are a good idea, AFP reports. A version will hit shelves in Germany on Jan. 8, and another is planned in France. And while some want a ban on the book's publication, others point out that it's already available in many places around the globe—and the Internet. (Bavaria, for example, never held the copyright for the book in the US, the AP explains.)
Even a Jewish community leader who wants the book banned does not oppose a scholarly version of the book with annotations, and that's what will be out in Germany on Jan. 8. The aim of the $65, 2,000-page text is to "deconstruct and put into context Hitler's writing," and to provide counterarguments to his ideas. Germany's Education Minister thinks such a version should be studied in classrooms so that "Hitler's comments do not remain unchallenged" and students' questions are answered. But another Jewish community leader warns that, even though it is accompanied by commentary, the original text is contained in the annotated version, and "right wing militants" could attempt to spread Hitler's ideas. Others argue that it's the limits on publication up til now that have served to fuel the "mystique" surrounding the book.