- Profits from a new French edition of Adolf Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” will go to the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation.
- The new critical edition of the book aims to put the text in its full historical context.
- The foundation’s director told Insider it was important to deal with “the darkest chapter of history.”
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
A new edition of Adolf Hitler’s notorious book “Mein Kampf” has become a bestseller in France, and proceeds are going to the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation.
Mein Kampf, or “My Struggle,” was an autobiographical book written by the Nazi leader and first published in two volumes in 1925 and 1927.
The new critical edition of the book, called “Historicizing Evil: A Critical Edition of Mein Kampf,” has been produced by French publishing house Fayard.
The book is nearly 1,000 pages long and features expert analysis that places the controversial text in its full historical context and debunks each lie, according to The New York Times.
It also features a new translation that better reflects the original’s jumbled prose, the paper said.
Olivier Mannoni, the translator of the new edition, told French newspaper Libération that he had stuck as close as possible to the original text, which earlier translations had improved by making it more coherent.
“An incoherent soup, one could become half-mad translating it,” Mannoni said about the original writing, according to The New York Times.
“To me, making this text elegant is a crime,” Mannoni added.
Wojciech Soczewica, the director-general of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation, told Insider that Fayard had offered the foundation a portion of the proceeds.
“For us, it is important that the publication is placed in a historical context and that it tries to deal with the darkest chapter of history for 20th century Europe,” Soczewica said.
“As long as it is presented in a critical way, and young generations have the opportunity to learn from it, then I think it is absolutely necessary.”
Soczewica said that the foundation had expanded the scope of its work to include promoting education alongside its regular work preserving the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp.
He added that the foundation trusted the prestigious publishing house to deal with the text responsibly.
The new edition of the book has sparked some controversy in France after becoming a summer bestseller, with some arguing that Hitler’s views should not be given any more air time, even critically.
The Amazon and Fnac websites were asked to alter their algorithms so that the book did not register on bestseller lists, The Times of London reported.
Fayard reportedly had to order a second print run after surprising sales, despite the hefty price tag of €100 ($US119 ($AU160)), the paper said.
Sophie Hogg, Fayard’s editorial director, said that the strong sales were satisfying “because it is recognition of the work of historians,” according to The Times.
She added that although journalists and booksellers seemed to understand their initiative, the publishing house was disappointed that few university libraries had taken up an offer of free copies.