This is a first in Poland. An annotated edition of My fight, the manifesto of Adolf Hitler, will be published this Wednesday in the country. So far, only Germany had issued a critical version in 2016, when the book released in 1925 entered the public domain.
The Polish edition was prepared for almost three years by Professor Eugeniusz Krol, a historian and political scientist specializing in the Nazi era. It has 1,000 pages, half of which consists of notes.
In pictures: An academic Polish-language edition of Adolf Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” is being published in Poland this week for the first time, with its editor Eugeniusz Krol calling it “a homage to the victims” pic.twitter.com/MacEJTgTJH
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“A tribute to the victims”
For Eugeniusz Krol, this reissue should be seen as “a tribute to the victims of the criminal system and a warning for generations to come”. The director of the Polish publishing house that publishes the book is also planning to donate part of any profits to the Foundation for the Memory of the Shoah or to the Auschwitz museum.
Written by the Nazi dictator in 1924 and 1925 while he was languishing in prison after a failed coup, My fight is a founding text of Nazism and the project of extermination of the Jews. It was edited in 11.5 million copies under Hitler’s bloodthirsty regime, during which 3 million Poles of Jewish origin were murdered.
Pirate versions of the text, abbreviated, mostly translated from English and devoid of critical apparatus, are already available in Poland. But they would do “a bad job” according to Eugeniusz Krol, which is why he wanted to make an annotated edition.
The director of the Auschwitz-Birkenau museum says he “understands” an edition for scientific purposes but warns against any promotional campaign that could violate Polish law. The publishing house, which specializes in historical works, ensures that no advertising is planned.
3.000 copies only
The Hitlerite pamphlet was only published in 3,000 copies and cost 150 zlotys (around 33 euros), a very high price in the country. The Chief Rabbi of Poland, Michael Schudrich, is not opposed to this critical reissue, given that “all of this can be found on the Internet today”.
He even considers that “this can be a positive thing” since an annotated version can “help to understand […] the dangers of Nazism, lies, totalitarianism ”. “Words matter. And what Hitler said before coming to power is exactly what he did later, ”says Michael Schudrich.