A controversial critical edition of Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf has sold out instantly after going on sale in German bookshops for the first time in 70 years.
Demand for the 2,000-page annotated version of the inflammatory text that hit bookstores on January 8 massively exceeded supply, with 15,000 advance orders for an initial print run of just 4,000 copies.
One copy of the edition, which costs £43 (59 euros), was even reportedly put up for resale on Amazon.de for £7,521.43 (9,999.99 euros).
The new edition of the notorious partly-autobiographical manifesto only appeared after the copyright, held by the German state of Bavaria which had refused to publish the book, expired on January 1.
Munich’s Institute for Contemporary History decided to bring out an annotated two-volume version following three years of work on it by its scholars.
Germany’s main Jewish group, the Central Council of Jews, said it has no objections to the critical edition but still strongly supported efforts to prevent any new ‘Mein Kampf’ versions without annotations.
Its president Josef Schuster said he hopes the critical edition will “contribute to debunking Hitler’s inhuman ideology and counteracting anti-Semitism”.
Authors have argued that the critical edition will “deconstruct and put into context Hitler’s writing” with the aim of demystifying the inflammatory text.
But some in the Jewish community in Germany criticised the decision to reprint the anti-Semitic book, questioning whether it was necessary to propagate the text again.
Charlotte Knobloch, leader of the Jewish community in Munich, said she was not able to imagine seeing the book in shop windows.
Versions of the book will also go on sale in France and are expected to cause an outcry in the Jewish community there.
Roger Cukierman, the president of the Council of Jewish Institutions of France, called the planned French reprints “a disaster”.
Hitler wrote Mein Kampf in 1924 while in jail for treason.