Hitler’s Mein Kampf copyright expiry could spark rise in anti-Semitism, warn Manchester university experts

By Sam Johnson

As Adolf Hitler’s infamous Mein Kampf nears its copyright expiration, Manchester University experts fear that it could spark a resurgence in anti-Semitism.

The manifesto, originally written after Hitler’s imprisonment in 1923, preaches a racially discriminate view of world history and has been branded ‘evil’ by numerous historians.

Yet the book’s copyright will end in 2016 – with worries that republication may encourage a resurgence in neo-Nazism and anti-Semitism.

Dr Jean-Marc Dreyfus, from The University Of Manchester, fears that not enough is known about the book or the reason why it is so popular in particular parts of the world.

He said: “The fact of the matter is, there’s not enough research out there for us to really know what is going on and how likely it is that Mein Kampf will create more hatred when its copyright runs out.

“What we do know is that when it became an official state publication in 1933, it became a best seller in Germany. If it happened then, who’s to say what would happen now?”

According Dr Atreyee Sen, who is a social anthropologist also from the university, the book is a common feature to the bookshelves of Indians across all social classes.

The book is said to be studied by Indian MBA students as well as admired by Hindu nationalist political leaders – it is one of the biggest selling books in the country.

Also, since the book’s republishing in Turkey in 2005, it has gone on to sell 80,000 copies in that country too.

Dr Dreyfus is against a ban of the book however. “Though the apparent popularity of Mein Kampf is shocking, we should not conclude that it reflects a rise in anti-Semitism,” he said.

“This debate will start the conversation we all need to have about balancing the need for free speech against the effects of preaching hatred.”

Picture courtesy of German Federal Agency, with thanks.

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