Strong sales of a new edition of Adolf Hitler’s book ‘Mein Kampf’ have propelled it onto the German bestseller lists, according to its publisher.
About 85,000 copies of the Nazi leader’s text, whose title translates as ‘My Struggle’, were sold in Germany during 2016.
Costing the equivalent of about $60, the edition on sale is an annotated “critical” version of the original. It is aimed primarily at schools, universities, academics and libraries.
After Nazi Germany fell in 1945, the Allied forces handed Mein Kampf’s copyright to the state of Bavaria. Under German law, copyright lasts for 70 years, and the Bavarian regional government banned its reprinting during that time.
When the copyright expired on January 1, 2016, the Munich-based Institute for Contemporary History decided to publish it again.
Mein Kampf was initially produced in two volumes in 1925 and 1926. It outlines Hitler’s political ideology and views on a wide range of subjects including eugenics and race theory. It is estimated that between its first publication and the end of the war in 1945, about 10 million copies of the book were sold or distributed in Germany.
Publisher Andreas Wirsching, the director of the Institute of Contemporary History, said “the [85,000 sales] figures overwhelmed us”.
Unlike the Nazi-era editions, the new version has a plain white cover because the swastika and other Nazi symbols are banned in Germany. It doesn’t include a picture of Hitler.
At the end of this month, the Institute will launch a sixth print run of the edition. A shorter, French-language edition is also planned.
It has been pointed out by some commentators that while sales of 85,000 copies of any book in a single year are good, such figures do not necessarily merit bestseller status in a country with a population of almost 85 million.