re-release: mein kampf

The copyright to Hitler’s infamous autobiography, Mein Kampf, belongs to Bavaria, which has banned publication of the book since the end of WWII. The copyright expires in three years, and they’ve decided to carefully re-release an annotated version as well as a simplified school version of it. [Summarised from the Guardian article here]

German post-war guilt is always an interesting subject, as is the question of what it’s like for today’s children and youth, who are the first generation with parents born after the war. Make no mistake: German pupils thoroughly (twice) study the causes and consequences of the Holocaust and the rise of the NSDAP (aka the Nazis).

Mein Kampf should not only not be banned, it should be considered primary source reading material for classes in history, sociology, etc. in order for students to understand why ordinary people could commit or be complicit (by doing nothing) in such atrocities, and how ordinary people so wholly bought into the vision and principles of Hitler. You know that saying: those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

I don’t know about the annotations; I hope they’re done ‘well’ in the sense that they explain rather than lecture. Telling young people what to think or believe often backfires.

In any case, it’s available online; if someone in Germany wanted to read it, s/he can with relative ease – ie. three seconds of googling led to a pdf of the English translation here. I’m skimming it for the first time now.

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