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Posted Wednesday, May 26, 2004
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Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Hitler Relative Eschews Royalties

Image shows Hitler wtih Geli Raubal,
daughter of Angela and sister of Leo.

Mein KampfBERLIN (Reuters) - A German historian said Sunday a distant relative of Adolf Hitler could sue the state of Bavaria for royalties from the Nazi dictator's book Mein Kampf but the retired Austrian engineer said he wants no part of it.

Werner Maser told Bild am Sonntag that Peter Raubal, whose father Leo Raubal was a nephew of Hitler, would have a strong chance of winning the copyright from Bavaria, which was given the German rights to the book by the postwar occupying powers. "Peter Raubal is the only heir of Hitler that I know of," Maser said. "As the closest relative alive, he could claim royalties from Hitler's book 'Mein Kampf'. Raubal would have to sue Bavaria. I am quite certain he would win.

Hitler with Geli"Hitler died with no immediate heirs but Leo Raubal was one of his half-sister Angela Raubal's children. Maser said Leo Raubal long considered such a lawsuit before his death in 1979. Bild am Sonntag said royalties could be worth millions of euros.

"Yes I know the whole story about Hitler's inheritance," Peter Raubal told Bild am Sonntag in what the paper said were his first public comments on the issue. "But I don't want to have anything to do with it. I will not do anything about it. I only want to be left alone."

In Germany, it is illegal to distribute Mein Kampf except in limited circumstances. Nazi symbols like the swastika and the stiff-armed Hitler salute are also banned. Mein Kampf is available online and in most countries, including Israel. Hitler dictated the tome to his secretary Rudolf Hess while in prison in Bavaria following the failed Munich "Beer Hall" putsch of 1923. It outlines a doctrine of German racial supremacy and ambitions to annex vast areas of the Soviet Union. Published in 1925, it became a school textbook after Hitler won power in 1933. All German newlyweds also received a copy.

Now, purchasers who can prove an academic purpose may secure an existing copy but otherwise sales are banned and Bavaria refused to authorize new copies. The Allied Control Commission assigned Bavaria the rights to Hitler's assets in 1946.

© Copyright 2004 Reuters


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