Hitler's 'Mein Kampf' to go on sale in Germany for first time since his death

A new version of Adolf Hitler's autobiography Mein Kampf is to go on sale in Germany for the first time since his death.

Reprinting Mein Kampf - which means "My Struggle" - has been banned in the country since the end of the Second World War.

But the copyright runs out on Friday, and a new edition, which includes critical commentary, is being printed by the Munich-based Institute of Contemporary History (IFZ).

It will cost 59 euros ($64) when it hits shelves on 8 January.

There will also be a French version of the anti-Semitic manifesto published in France.

The reprints have been criticised by those who believe Hitler's 800-page book should continue to be outlawed.

Charlotte Knobloch, president of the Jewish community in Munich and Upper Bavaria, warned that even the annotated version carries risks as it "contains the original text".

She said it is "in the interest of right-wing militants and Islamists to spread these ideas".

In France, Roger Cukierman, the president of the council of Jewish institutions, called the planned French reprints "a disaster".

"Such horror can already be found on the internet. What would happen if Mein Kampf also becomes bedside reading?" he said.

Some academics argue in favour of the new editions, though, saying they will help students challenge Hitler's fascist beliefs.

They also point out the book is freely available in many parts of the world, and is just a few clicks away on the internet.

Hitler wrote the book in 1924 while in jail for treason in the southern German state of Bavaria.

It set out two ideas he put into practice as Germany's leader - annexing neighbouring countries to gain "lebensraum" - or "living space" - for Germans, and his hatred of Jews, which led to the Holocaust.

More than 12 million copies were printed in Germany until Hitler's suicide in 1945, when the Allies gave Bavaria control of the main Nazi publishing house.

For 70 years, the state refused to allow the manifesto to be republished out of respect for victims of the Nazis.

It falls into the public domain on 1 January, meaning Bavaria can no longer challenge reproductions or translations of the inflammatory work.

The ban will continue in several European countries that were under Nazi occupation, including Austria and the Netherlands.

In India and Brazil, the book is easily found, while in Japan even a manga version of the book is available.

In Turkey, more than 30,000 copies have been sold since 2004 and the book is not prohibited in the US.

IFZ says its 2,000-page version aims to "deconstruct and put into context Hitler's writing".

It will look at key historical questions, including: "How were his theses conceived? What objectives did he have? And most important: which counterarguments do we have, given our knowledge today of the countless claims, lies and assertions of Hitler?"

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