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Publisher Scraps Plans To Sell Hitler's 'Mein Kampf' At German Newsstands

Adolf Hitler's "Mein Kampf," where he lays out his Aryan ideology, remains taboo in Germany. A British publisher's plans to sell excerpts of the book at German newsstands was scuttled at the last minute after legal thre

A German edition of Mein Kampf in a Nuremberg museum (dccarbone)
A German edition of Mein Kampf in a Nuremberg museum (dccarbone)


BERLIN - Excerpts of Hitler‘s "Mein Kampf," which were set to be sold in newsstands across Germany for the first time since the end of World War II, have been pulled at the 11th hour after legal threats by the state of Bavaria, which owns the book's copyright.

British publisher Peter McGee had planned on Thursday to release parts of the still taboo book in a series of 15-page, German-language inserts with the historical magazine Zeitungszeugen, along with accompanying commentary. But Mcgee said Wednesday he would publish just the commentary after legal pressure from the Bavarian Ministry of Finance, which, since the late 1940s, has held the rights to Hitler's writings and those of other Nazi leaders like Joseph Goebbels.

Bavaria also holds the rights to works published by Franz Eher Nachfolger, the Nazi party's publisher, after U.S. occupation forces passed on to the Ministry the task of ensuring that Nazi propaganda was not disseminated in Germany. It is still illegal in Germany to spread Nazi ideology, or display swastikas or make the stiff-armed Nazi salute.

Several generations of legal experts at the Ministry have been on the case ever since, but their job has recently seemed less relevant. Because what was appropriate in the 1950s and 1960s has become, especially since the upswing in research on the Nazis that started in the 1970s, little more than an irritation. In fact, with its blind determination to carry out its task, the Ministry has been responsible for Hitler's pamphlet, a badly written and confused tract, acquiring the mystique of a "forbidden book."

Still Jewish groups and Holocaust survivors had expressed outrage at McGee's plans for widespread sale of the excerpts, which he said was aimed at demystifying the crude text. There are already two books on the German market, by Werner Maser and Christian Zentner respectively, containing excerpts of "Mein Kampf" with commentary. The Zentner book is in its 21st edition.

Meanwhile, the entire text of "Mein Kampf" is actually freely available – without commentary, since it's usually to be found on extremist right-wing sites – on the Internet. What is missing is a comprehensive edition for academics, and a complete edition with commentary aimed at the wider public. Germany's Institute of Contemporary History (IfZ), one of the most respected institutions in the world for its research into the Nazi era, is preparing a philological edition of "Mein Kampf" for late 2015 when all copyrights expire.

Read the full story in German by Sven Felix Kellerhoff

Photo – dccarbone

*Newsbites are digest items, not direct translations

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Shame On The García Márquez Heirs — Cashing In On The "Scraps" Of A Legend

A decision to publish a sketchy manuscript as a posthumous novel by the late Gabriel García Márquez would have horrified Colombia's Nobel laureate, given his painstaking devotion to the precision of the written word.

Photo of a window with a sticker of the face of Gabriel Garcia Marquez with butterfly notes at Guadalajara's International Book Fair.

Poster of Gabriel Garcia Marquez at Guadalajara's International Book Fair.

Juan David Torres Duarte


BOGOTÁ — When a writer dies, there are several ways of administering the literary estate, depending on the ambitions of the heirs. One is to exercise a millimetric check on any use or edition of the author's works, in the manner of James Joyce's nephew, Stephen, who inherited his literary rights. He refused to let even academic papers quote from Joyce's landmark novel, Ulysses.

Or, you continue to publish the works, making small additions to their corpus, as with Italo Calvino, Samuel Beckett and Clarice Lispector, or none at all, which will probably happen with Milan Kundera and Cormac McCarthy.

Another way is to seek out every scrap of paper the author left and every little word that was jotted down — on a piece of cloth, say — and drip-feed them to publishers every two to three years with great pomp and publicity, to revive the writer's renown.

This has happened with the Argentine Julio Cortázar (who seems to have sold more books dead than alive), the French author Albert Camus (now with 200 volumes of personal and unfinished works) and with the Chilean author Roberto Bolaño. The latter's posthumous oeuvre is so abundant I am starting to wonder if his heirs haven't hired a ghost writer — typing and smoking away in some bedsit in Barcelona — to churn out "newly discovered" works.

Which group, I wonder, will our late, great novelist Gabriel García Márquez fit into?

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