Mein Kampf can you still read it.

Discussion in 'Books, Films, TV, Radio' started by Deacs, Oct 12, 2011.

  1. Dave55

    Dave55 Very Senior Member

    Yes, but woe betide the house that didn't have a copy - an expensive edition preferably - on prominent display.

    No one read it, there was the Völkische Beobachter and Der Sturmer for that, but everyone had to had one.

    From which one might infer that Mein Kampf was like an ....*, everybody had one :D

    * pace Owen

    I've read somewhere, possibly on this forum, that they disappeared very quickly post war because of the shortage of paper in Germany for kindling and fuel as well as for other 'necessities' . The latter seems a fitting use. :)

  2. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Very Senior Member

    Ah, so that wasn't an early snowfall in was all the little holes being punched in one corner of millions of copies of MK...

    I suppose it was better than using old bits of...Brownshirt! :lol:
  3. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Hot air manufacturer

  4. wowtank

    wowtank Very Senior Member

  5. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    Coincidentally, I saw another full set of the part-work in an Antiques/Militaria shed in Portsmouth Dockyard on Monday.
    65 or 85 quid, I forget - do wish I'd bought it for twenty-odd the last time I saw it.
  6. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

  7. Vitesse

    Vitesse Senior Member

    BBC News - Viewpoint: Let Germans read Mein Kampf

    So not illegal in Germany then - Copyright held by Bavarian Govt..
    (Must confess, I was briefly puzzled by the 'About the Author' insert on that page...)
    I think you'll find that confirms what I wrote in post 8 :D
    von Poop likes this.
  8. PeterG

    PeterG Senior Member

    Mein Kampf is to be published in Germany:

    BBC News - Viewpoint: Let Germans read Mein Kampf

    My copy was the first full edition in English, published by Hurst and Blackett in early 1939, translated by James Murphy.

    The Wikipedia has this to say about himJames Vincent Murphy (7 July 1880 – 5 July 1946) was an Irish translator, writer, and journalist, who published one of the first complete English translations of Mein Kampf in 1939.
    James Murphy attended St. Patrick's College. He was ordained a priest at St. Patrick's College Chapel in 1905.
    He left clerical service. Before the Second World War he lived for some time in Italy and Germany.
    and of his translation:It was the only English translation approved by the Third Reich.

    This is not quite right. James Murphy, an ardent anti-Nazi, managed to get a job as the official translator of Hitler's speeches in Goebbels' Propaganda Ministry. In 1938 he was dismissed as unreliable, although Goebbels didn't realise his true political position. In translating Mein Kampf he was assisted by Greta Lorche, later the wife of Adam Kuckoff, both members of the Red Orchestra (Rote Kapelle).

    Following his dismissal, Goebbels flatly refused to release Murphy's manuscript. Fortunately he had secreted a copy; he revised this in six weeks and Hurst and Blackett set up the type in just seven working days. Germany threatened to sue, but not a penny was paid to them. This is still the only full and reliable translation.
  9. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    As regards Hitler's estate I believe there was an extended legal battle between Paula Hitler, Hitler's younger sister with the Bavarian Govermnent on the rightful claim to the estate.I believe that settlement was agreed in that the estate including any royalties would be equally shared between the State of Bavaria and Paula Hitler.As regards the sharing of royalties,I think this was to continue until Paula Hitler died when the Bavarian State would assume full ownership of royalties.

    Paula Hitler was involved as Hitler's housekeeper on the Obersalzberg from about 1936.Paula Hitler also went under surname of Wolf as Hitler did in his early political career.
  10. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Hot air manufacturer

  11. KevinC

    KevinC Slightly wierd

  12. Wills

    Wills Very Senior Member

  13. Trackfrower

    Trackfrower Member

    I have a copy of "my Struggle".

    It is a very dull book but does offer some insight to his reasoning and hatred.

    He won't win any prizes!!!

  14. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Why did my grandfather translate Mein Kampf?
    By John Murphy
    BBC News


    Whenever I tell anyone that my Irish grandfather translated Hitler's Mein Kampf, the first question tends to be, "Why did he do that?" Quickly followed by, "Was he a Nazi?"

    Simply answered, No he wasn't a Nazi (more on that later) and why not translate it? He was a journalist and translator based in Berlin in the 1930s and that's how he earned his money. And surely it was important for people to know what Europe's "Great Dictator" (apologies to Charlie Chaplin) was about?

    Certainly my grandfather and many other non-Nazis thought so at the time. Let's also not forget this was before Hitler became the most notorious figure of evil in history.

    Hitler made a fortune from Mein Kampf. Not only did he excuse himself from paying tax, after he became Chancellor the German state bought millions of copies which were famously handed out to newly married couples. It's estimated that 12 million copies were sold in Germany alone.

    The story of my grandfather's translation - the first unabridged version in English, which was eventually published in London in 1939 - is an intriguing one. It involves worries about copyright, sneaking back into Nazi Germany to rescue manuscripts and a Soviet spy.

    My grandfather, Dr James Murphy, lived in Berlin from 1929, before the Nazis came to power. He set up a highbrow magazine called The International Forum which chiefly contained translations of interviews he'd done with eminent people, including Albert Einstein and Thomas Mann. However, as the Depression worsened, he was forced to move back to the UK.

    Dr James Murphy, journalist, translator and polymath

    While there he wrote a short book, Adolf Hitler: the Drama of his Career, which sought to explain why so many Germans were attracted to the Nazi cause.

    My grandfather returned to Berlin in 1934, where he ridiculed the garbled translations of Nazi policy statements. He was especially critical of an abridged version of Mein Kampf - about a third of the length of the original two-volume work - which had been published in English in 1933. Towards the end of 1936, the Nazis asked James to start work on a full translation of Mein Kampf. It's not clear why. Perhaps Berlin's Propaganda Ministry wanted to have an English version which it could release when it felt the time was right.

    But at some point during 1937 the Nazis changed their minds. The Propaganda Ministry sequestered all completed copies of the Murphy manuscript. He returned to England in September 1938, where he quickly found British publishers keen to print his full translation - but they were worried that the Nazi publishing house, Eher Verlag, hadn't given him the copyright. And anyway, he had left his completed work behind in Germany.

    Just as he was about to set off for Berlin to sort all this out, he received a message through the German embassy in London, saying he wasn't welcome. James was distraught. A natural spendthrift, he'd run out of money, and had great hopes for the English publication. But at this point, his wife - my grandmother - said she would go.

    "They won't notice me," she said, according to my father, Patrick Murphy.

    "So she went back into Germany and made an appointment with a Nazi official we knew in the Propaganda Ministry, a man called Seyferth," my father says.


    Unfortunately Mary Murphy had chosen a bad day, 10 November 1938 - the morning after Kristallnacht, when Jewish shops and businesses were attacked by Nazi thugs. Nevertheless, her meeting with Seyferth went ahead.

    "You know a group of Americans is working on a translation right now, so you can't stop it coming out," she told him. "You know my husband has done an accurate and fair translation - an excellent translation… so why not hand over the manuscript?"

    Seyferth refused. "I have a wife and two daughters. Do you want me put up against a brick wall and shot?" he said.

    Then Mary remembered that she had previously handed a carbon copy of a first draft of her husband's translation to one of his secretaries, an English woman called Daphne French. She tracked her down in Berlin and, fortunately, Daphne still had the copy. Mary brought it back to London. With an American translation about to be published in the US, the race was on to get my grandfather's translation out as quickly as possible. In March 1939, Hurst and Blackett/Hutchinson published the first British unexpurgated version of Mein Kampf.

    Hurst and Blackett's 1939 edition of Mein Kampf

    By August 32,000 copies had been sold and they continued to be printed until the presses were destroyed - by a German air raid - in 1942. A new American version subsequently became the standard translation. One copyright expert, who has written about Mein Kampf, estimates that between 150,000 to 200,000 copies of the Murphy edition were eventually sold.

    My grandfather, however, did not receive royalty payments. Hutchinson argued that he had already been paid by the German government and that the full copyright hadn't been secured, so they could still be sued by Eher Verlag. An official letter from Germany, which turned out to be a diatribe against James Murphy, made clear Berlin disapproved of his translation. But the Germans didn't take any action. Eher Verlag even requested complimentary copies and royalty payments. They didn't receive them.

    The Murphy edition is now out of print but copies are scattered across the world and it can be found online.

    The Wiener Library in London, which has a unique collection of material on the Holocaust and genocide, has a remarkable copy of Murphy's Mein Kampf in its vaults. Inside the flyleaf there's a photograph of Hitler, and a group of smiling people, in Berchtesgarden, in the Bavarian Alps. A note, written in pencil, explains that Hitler came into the village and signed copies of Mein Kampf. His signature is there, in pencil.

    The book, bought in 1939 in the UK, was seemingly taken by British admirers as they visited the Fuehrer's Alpine retreat. The photograph has somewhat comical annotations in the form of three pencilled arrows. By the top arrow is the handwritten note, "M. Bormann?" The next one down simply says, "Hitler". And the last arrow, pointing to a young woman in a white dress in front of Hitler, says: "Karen".

    An edition of Murphy's translation of Mein Kampf, signed by Hitler

    "Karen must have been the owner of the book or related to the owner of the book," says Ben Barkow, the Director of the Wiener Library. "But it's always slightly chilling to hold the book in one's hand, knowing of course that he held it in his hand when he autographed it."

    And if that wasn't strange enough, Barkow, then produces a Murphy edition which Hutchinson brought out in 18 weekly parts. Bright yellow and red, each part sold for sixpence. What's extraordinary, though, is what it says down one side of the cover: "Royalties on all sales will go to the British Red Cross Society." On the other side of the cover: "The blue-print of German imperialism. The most widely discussed book of the modern world."


    Mein Kampf today
    • As Hitler's official home was Munich, after his suicide, all royalties from his estate went to the state of Bavaria, which owns the copyright of Mein Kampf in Germany and has refused to allow publication
    • The copyright expires at the end of 2015, and Bavaria says it will allow an annotated version of the text to be published
    • Publication and ownership of the book is restricted or banned in some countries including Argentina, China, the Netherlands and Russia
    • In other countries, such as India and Turkey, it remains popular - it's estimated that more than 15,000 copies are sold in the US every year

    There's another intriguing twist to the story of the English translation. While my grandfather was working on it he employed the help of a German woman (recommended by a half-Jewish writer, who was also the Murphys' landlord). James referred to Greta Lorcke, as she was then, as one of the most intelligent people he'd ever met. But he had battles with her. While he wanted to produce an intelligible translation, in good English, Greta would on occasion alter the translations, to reflect some of Hitler's convoluted and vulgar language. "This annoyed him intensely," my father says. "He would alter it back again."

    But there was something else about Greta that my grandfather didn't know at the time.

    The serialised edition of Murphy's translation

    During the War the Nazis discovered that Greta and her husband, Adam Kuckhoff, were members of a famous Soviet spy ring, known as the Red Orchestra (Rote Kapelle). Adam was executed. Greta had her sentence commuted to life imprisonment. She survived the war, and in her autobiography she describes her first meeting with James Murphy, who she refers to as Mr M.

    "I was very impressed by Mr M as he came to meet me in the main lobby. He was a handsome man - 2m tall and carried his 100kg with regal dignity - a man who inspired confidence. The way he discussed his translation work, with which I was to assist him, made me believe he was no friend of National Socialism."

    Greta had considerable doubts about translating Mein Kampf, as she explained to my father, years later.

    "'Why should I help this man translate this awful book into English?' she wondered. But she consulted her Soviet contacts who explained that it was necessary to translate it into good English," my father says.

    "They had heard from the Soviet Ambassador to London, Maisky, who knew Lloyd George quite well. Lloyd George had said to Maisky, 'I don't know why you tell me all these things are in Mein Kampf - I've read it and they aren't.' It turned out that what Lloyd George had read was [the] abridged version, which was only about a third of the length, and which had been controlled to a certain extent by the Nazis. Some of the worst things were taken out of it. So the Russians had said to Greta, 'You must help this man - get this into English!'"

    Unfortunately I never met my grandfather. He died of a heart condition in 1946, just before his 66th birthday. This large Irishman from County Cork was a complicated and fascinating man. He was a true polymath, with a deep knowledge of literature, art and science; a journalist, a lecturer, a translator; an expert on Italian fascism and Nazi Germany.

    He spoke French, Italian and German fluently. He harboured dreams of a United States of Europe - at peace. Ultimately, though, even if it wasn't his intention, he'll be best known as the man who translated Hitler's Mein Kampf.

    Mein Kampf: Publish or Burn? produced by John Murphy with reporter Chris Bowlby will be broadcast on BBC Radio 4 at 11:00 GMT, 14 January - listen afterwards on the BBC iPlayer
    Deacs likes this.
  15. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron

    I write as a Jewish veteran who has vehemently hated Hitler and all that he stood for, virtually all of my long life.

    Nevertheless I own a digital copy of the book and in it's Kindle version I find it a convenient document to acess and quote from.

    I have no reservations at all in suggesting that those who have any doubts at all as to Hitlers abiding and irrational hatred for the Jews read this monstrous book and consider the effect that it must have had on the German public of those times.

    TTH, gpo son, canuck and 1 other person like this.
  16. TriciaF

    TriciaF Junior Member

    Well written Ron.
  17. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin

    I have to admit to being more than a Little surprised last week when I first heard of the probable reprinting of the book again here in Germany.

    Having read this thread and excellent Posts above, perhaps a Reprint with annotations from Leading Historians is not too bad of an idea although I am not really sold on the idea.

  18. smdarby

    smdarby Well-Known Member

    I went to India over Christmas and for some reason most of the bookshops in the airports had copies of Mein Kampf. Why in that particular country I don't know. I must admit I started flicking through the pages once while waiting for a plane, but I felt uncomfortable doing so in public and quickly put it back on the shelf!
  19. TTH

    TTH Senior Member

    When he was in a Jap prison camp, Russell Braddon (Royal Australian Artillery) read Mein Kampf through because it was one of the few books the Japs made available. Braddon hated it and found it horribly boring, but it helped pass the time and he found that reading such a dull, stupid book was good for his intellectual discipline.
  20. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

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