Germany investigates publisher planning new edition of 'Mein Kampf'

A copy of the book 'Hitler, Mein Kampf. A Critical Edition' lies on a display table in a bookshop in Munich, Germany January 8, 2016. REUTERS/Michael Dalder TPX

BERLIN (Reuters) - Public prosecutors in Germany are investigating a publisher’s plans to print a new edition of Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” without critical notes - a move that risks violating laws against spreading Nazi propaganda.

Leipzig-based publisher Verlag Der Schelm, or Rogue Publishing, said on its website it would reprint the unabridged 1943 version of Hitler’s polemical text this summer.

The two-volume political treatise, which was written by Hitler between 1924 and 1926 and posits a global Jewish conspiracy, is regarded as one of the Nazis’ main propaganda tools.

The 70-year copyright on the text, banned by the Allies at the end of World War Two, expired at the end of 2015, opening the way for a critical edition with explanatory sections and some 3,500 annotations.

That edition of “Mein Kampf”, which means “My Struggle”, went on sale in January 2016 after three years of labor by scholars at Munich’s Institute for Contemporary History and has since sold far more copies than expected in Germany.

Publishing the text without critical notes could be considered tantamount to disseminating Nazi propaganda, which is outlawed in Germany.

The public prosecutor’s office in Bamberg in Bavaria was checking whether charges could be brought on grounds of incitement, news agency DPA reported. No one at the office was immediately reachable for comment when contacted by Reuters.

Reporting by James Swaden; Editing by Angus MacSwan