Posts Tagged ‘Mein’

Whether it’s Cologne sex assaults or Mein Kampf, Germany still doesn’t trust its people

January 12th, 2016

The book is a virtually unreadable ragbag of personal reminiscence, anti-Semitic diatribes, self-pitying sentimentality, and a chilling forecast of Hitler’s future plans for Germany after the Nazis came to power, including conquering France, battling Russian Bolshevism, enslaving the Slavs, and veiled hints of the Holocaust itself.

The publisher this time around is the heavyweight historical Institut fur Zeitgeschichte (Institute for Contemporary History) based in Munich, capital of Bavaria, the south German city and state that was the cradle of the Nazi movement in the 1920s, and where Hitler spent his happiest hours.

The Bavarian state government, which inherited the publishing part of the former Fuhrer’s estate, and is extremely sensitive about its most infamous one-time resident, had resolutely refused to republish while the seventy years copyright lasted. However it was unable to prevent publication of the toxic work after the copyright expired. Discretion about Nazism, in official Bavaria’s eyes, was definitely the better part of valour.

Although some members of Germany’s Jewish community – now 100,000 strong – expressed unease that the book’s release would fuel a new wave of neo-Nazism, and despite the fact that the first edition sold out within hours on Germany’s Amazon website, independent historians have backed the republication, and it seems unlikely that the heavily annotated and deliberately dull-looking tome will ever again attain bestseller status.

Historian Roger Moorhouse, author of His Struggle, an account of the writing of the original book, says the controversy is “much more about Germany’s continued obsession with Hitler, and the curious assumption that his horrid, outdated ideas are still ‘infectious’, than…about the book itself.”

There is, surely, also a coincidental link between official German efforts to stifle or filter Hitler’s rancid tex and the same establishment’s current ham-fisted attempt to cover up the true extent and the identity of the perpetrators of the mass sexual assaults on women in Cologne and elsewhere in Germany on New Year’s Eve

It as if Germany’s rulers do not trust their own people with the ability to handle uncomfortable truths. Whether those truths are the poisonous doctrines that once entranced the nation and led to the Holocaust and the devastation of Europe in the Second World War, or the more immediately dismaying reality that parts of German cities are no longer safe for German women to walk in because of their own government’s policies, the instinct to suppress the truth remains the same. It is a profoundly unhealthy trait.


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Germany’s first new copies of Mein Kampf in 70 years aim to shatter myth of book

December 2nd, 2015

The first run of Hitler, Mein Kampf. A Critical Edition would be limited to between 3,500 and 4,000 copies, he said.

Plans to publish the new version have been controversial and drawn fire especially from Jewish groups, who have argued the book is dangerous and should never be printed again.

“We have to strip away the allure of this book and show the reality,” said Mr Wirsching

One of two rare copies of 'Mein Kampf' signed by the young Nazi leader Adolf Hitler and due for auction, photographed in Los Angeles, California on February 25, 2014

Mein Kampf (My Struggle) was written by Hitler in 1924 while languishing in prison after a failed coup.

Authorities in the southern state of Bavaria were handed the copyright by Allied forces after the Second World War.

For seven decades, they have refused to allow it to be republished out of respect for victims of the Nazis and to prevent incitement of hatred.

But at the end of the year the copyright runs out so that Mein Kampf falls into the public domain on January 1.

“This is not just a source” for the study of Nazi ideology, said the historian responsible for the project, Christian Hartmann. “It is also a symbol and it is one of the last relics of the Third Reich.”


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Mein Kampf to be republished in Germany in early 2016

February 26th, 2015

But that copyright expires in December, meaning a new, heavily annotated, version will be published by Germany’s Institute for Contemporary History in January.

“I understand some immediately feel uncomfortable when a book that played such a dramatic role is made available again to the public,” Magnus Brechtken, the institute’s deputy director, told the Washington Post. “On the other hand, I think that this is also a useful way of communicating historical education and enlightenment – a publication with the appropriate comments, exactly to prevent these traumatic events from ever happening again.”

Jewish groups argued the book was “outside of human logic”.

The new version will be 2,000 pages long – far longer than Hitler’s 700-page original – because it will include critical commentary of Hitler’s writing.

Hitler wrote Mein Kampf (My Struggle), in 1924 while in a Bavarian prison, and combined elements of autobiography with his views on Aryan “racial purity”, his hatred of Jews and his opposition to communism.

Millions of copies were distributed before his death in 1945.

The book is unusually popular in India, where it is sold in book shops and by hawkers at train stations.

A signed copy of the book was sold at auction in Ludlow, Shropshire, in 2009 for £21,000.

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Publishing Mein Kampf is the best way to undermine Hitler’s poison

February 25th, 2015

A manga version of the book was published in Japan

3) Mein Kampf is an important historical document. It is arguably invaluable reading for students who wish to understand the way that a significant minority of Germans thought in the 1920s and 1930s, thus helping contemporary readers to understand the social conditions that made the Third Reich possible.

4) Perversely, making Mein Kampf available in this format could be a useful weapon against the Far Right. The Far Right often try to whitewash the Nazi era by claiming that a) the Holocaust never happened, b) what little persecution of the Jews that did take place did so without Hitler’s direct order and c) the Third Reich was the victim of Western aggression and never wanted a world war. Reading Mein Kampf rubbishes all these claims. Hitler clearly states that Jews are part of a grand conspiracy to destroy Germany through Marxism and racial impurity, and that they have to be purged form society. He uses language that eerily predicts the horrors of Auschwitz when stating that the First World War could have been won: “If at the beginning of the War… twelve or fifteen thousand of these Hebrew corrupters of the people had been held under poison gas.” Likewise, he proposes that Germans require lebensraum in Europe – a living space that would become the goal of eastward expansion in 1939. In short, while Hitler was certainly an opportunist and his state surprisingly decentralised in structure, he operated by a clear ideological vision that is laid out in Mein Kampf.

5) Subjected to proper critical analysis, Mein Kampf reads like an absurd, paranoid, semi-illiterate pamphlet – it debunks itself. George Orwell’s scathing review nailed it: “The initial, personal cause of [Hitler’s] grievance against the universe can only be guessed at; but at any rate the grievance is here. He is the martyr, the victim, Prometheus chained to the rock, the self-sacrificing hero who fights single-handed against impossible odds. If he were killing a mouse he would know how to make it seem like a dragon. One feels, as with Napoleon, that he is fighting against destiny, that he can’t win, and yet that he somehow deserves to.”

The challenge of reading Mein Kampf in hindsight is to try to understand how something so obviously wrong and so clearly the product of a broken, third-rate mind could bring about the Götterdämmerung of Europe.

The answer is partly that it didn’t. The Hitler of Mein Kampf, the Hitler of the 1920s, was quickly discredited and, as Weimar’s economy improved, looked like an irrelevance. Only when the Depression hit, and the German establishment was looking for a weapon to smash the Left with, was Hitler reluctantly invited into power. And what democratic support he enjoyed he enjoyed in part because he pledged peace and played down some of the rhetoric one wades through in Mein Kampf.

If Mein Kampf is presented in proper, scholarly fashion then it can be made clear that it is not a black bible – an unholy writ of immense, dark magical powers – but an important historical artifact that helps us understand what went so terribly wrong in an apparently civilised society. History understood is history conquered.


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