Mein Kampf was about to enter the public domain in Germany, removing the country’s preferred copyright-based method for keeping it away from readers’ hearts and minds. There’s no chance of them just letting it be available (as is done in the UK, US and Israel), but they didn’t want to ban it outright, martyring Hitler afresh. Instead they favored what the BBC describes as “a heavily paternalistic approach”: publishing a nigh-unreadable “critical edition” in the hopes that it would be too cumbersome to be popular. This not only failed, but ensured a constant stream of discussion and drama to keep it on the bestseller list.
[The publishers’] director, Andreas Wirsching, declared that it would be irresponsible to hand over Mein Kampf “free of copyright and commentary”, because in that case everybody could do whatever they wanted with Hitler’s book. …
If anything public interest in the book was fanned unnecessarily by keeping the aura of the forbidden alive.
By mid-April, Mein Kampf had managed to move to the pole position of Germany’s influential Spiegel bestseller list, where it remained for several weeks.
Even now it stands in 14th place, though many bookshops do not have the book on display and others only order the book on request.
This renewed calls to stop being so controlling and just let Hitler’s long, boring rant die in the public domain.