Παρασκευή, 11 Νοεμβρίου 2016

Struggling with reality | On reading Mein Kampf



ANSON RABINBACH

On October 29, 1945, the Allied Control Council in Germany issued a decree dissolving the organizations of the National Socialist Party including its leading press agency and publishing house, the Franz Eher Nachfolger GmbH. Since the headquarters of the firm was in Munich, the property of the Eher Verlag was transferred to the Free State of Bavaria, which also assumed legal succession and trusteeship of its assets. A provisional court in Munich (Spruchkammer) initiated criminal proceedings against Max Amann, who had amassed a considerable fortune as the head of Nazi Germany’s largest publishing enterprise, sentencing him to ten years imprisonment. In 1948, all copyrights were transferred to the Bavarian State Ministry of Finance, including the copyright to Mein Kampf, which belonged to the literary estate of Adolf Hitler. Since German copyright law stipulates that all rights revert to the public domain seventy years after the death of the author, the copyright to Mein Kampf expired on December 31, 2015. Mein Kampf was never actually banned in the Federal Republic of Germany; it was sold in second-hand bookshops, was obtain­able in libraries, and in recent years has been readily available on the internet. Only the publication of the book was proscribed.