Hitler's 'Mein Kampf' coming back to German shops

BERLIN Mon Jan 16, 2012 12:10pm EST

BERLIN (Reuters) - Adolf Hitler's "Mein Kampf", banned from German bookstores, will soon be available from newspaper kiosks after a British publisher said he would print excerpts from the text in Germany.

But the state of Bavaria, which owns the copyrights to the Nazi vision of Aryan racial supremacy, said it was considering legal steps to block publication.

Reprinting the Nazi dictator's autobiography, which outlines his ambitions to seize vast areas of land in eastern Europe to provide living space for the so-called master race, is outlawed in Germany except for academic study.

The first of three 16-page extracts from the book, accompanied by a critical commentary, will be published later this month with a print run of 100,000 each, Peter McGee, head of London-based publishing firm Albertas Ltd told Reuters.

"It is a sensitive subject in Germany but the incredible thing is most Germans don't have access to 'Mein Kampf' because it has this taboo, this 'black magic' surrounding it," he said.

"We want 'Mein Kampf' to be accessible so people can see it for what it is, and then discard it. Once exposed, it can be consigned to the dustbin of literature," he said.

The excerpts will be distributed as a supplement to the company's existing weekly publication, a controversial series called "Zeitungszeugen", or "Newspaper Witnesses", which reprints pages of Nazi newspapers from the 1920s and 1930s, along with a commentary.

The latest edition of the series, which was released last week, has so far sold 250,000 copies, according to McGee.

But the Bavarian state finance ministry in southern Germany, which holds the copyrights, said on Monday the magazine supplement would breach copyright law.

"The Bavarian finance ministry is currently considering legal steps against this publication," a spokesman for the ministry said in a statement.

However, McGee defended the supplement and said his company was acting completely within the laws of copyright.

The distribution of Nazi ideology for non-educational purposes has been forbidden in Germany since the end of World War Two. Swastikas and the stiff-armed Nazi salute are also outlawed.

(Reporting by Alice Baghdjian, editing by Paul Casciato)

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