Sunday, December 6, 2015

How a new edition of 'Mein Kampf' hopes to debunk Hitler's lies

A mesh of "half-truth and outright lie" in Adolph Hitler's memoir-manifesto, "Mein Kampf," prompted scholars to spend three years completing a new edition chock-full of fact-check annotations, according to The New York Times.

That's to "defang any propagandistic effect while revealing Nazism," Alison Smale wrote for The Times. The work's copyright expires Dec. 31, which made the academics' efforts possible.

The Times noted why the release of the edition, which includes 2,000 pages and 3,500 academic annotations, wasn't possible until now.

"Not since 1945, when the Allies banned the dubious work and awarded the rights to the state of Bavaria, has Hitler's manifesto, 'Mein Kampf,' been officially published in German," The Times reported. "Bavaria had refused to release it. But under German law, its copyright expires Dec. 31, the 70th year after the author's death."

This time around, the work will "dismantle the core doctrines" Hitler deployed to justify the Holocaust, Marie Solis wrote for Mic.

The bottom line: "Scholars want to disrupt a narrative of hate," according to Mic.

Still, some argue in regards to whether reprinting such a controversial text is a good idea.

Svati Kirsten Narula wrote for Quartz many scholars and librarians view "Mein Kampf" — translated in English to "My Struggle" — as a "toxic and dangerous text."

And German authorities refused to allow reprintings of the book in fear it would incite hatred, according to BBC News. Because of that, officials indicated they'll limit the public's access to the new "Mein Kampf" edition "amid fears that this could stir neo-Nazi sentiment."

However, Caroline Mortimer wrote for The Independent that the team of academics said a scholarly version to refute Hitler's lies is an appropriate way to reprint the book.

Christian Hartmann, lead of the team, told David Charter for The Times they created a "very reader-friendly edition."

"We firmly connect Hitler's text with our comments, so that both are always on the same double page. I could describe it in martial terms as a battle of annihilation — we are encircling Hitler with our annotations," Hartmann said, according to The Times. "Our principal was that there should be no page with Hitler's text without critical annotations. Hitler is being interrupted, he is being criticised, he is being refuted if necessary."

According to The Independent, many Jewish leaders remain opposed to the reprint.

"I am absolutely against the publication of 'Mein Kampf,' even with annotations," The Independent quoted Levi Salomon, spokesman for the Jewish Forum for Democracy and Against Anti-Semitism, as saying. "Can you annotate the Devil? Can you annotate a person like Hitler? This book is outside of human logic."

Mic reported the edition will cost $63 and hits bookstore shelves in January.

Payton Davis is the Deseret News National intern. Send him an email at and follow him on Twitter, @Davis_DNN.

Source: Deseret News National

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