A recent controlled media furore over the “sudden” popularity of Adolf Hitler’s famous book Mein Kampf, particularly in ebook version, looks set to continue with the release of the only officially approved English translation issued during Hitler’s lifetime.
According to Ostara Publications, the publisher of the new version, the only official English translation was issued in 1937 by the Franz Eher Verlag in Berlin, and most copies were distributed in Allied Prisoner of War (POW) camps during the war.
These editions were stamped with Stalag (the German abbreviation for the word Stammlager, or POW camp) and are thus known as “Stalag editions.” They are identifiable by the POW library rubber camp stamps which appear on the title page. Only a tiny number survived the war, and printing was halted in 1944.
“The Stalag edition is the only complete, unabridged, and officially authorized English translation ever issued by the Nazi party, and is not to be confused with any other version.
Translated by a now-unknown English-speaking Nazi party member, the text differs substantially from the “James Murphy” or “Ralph Mannheim” translations, both of which were edited, abridged and ultimately unauthorized.
“The Murphy and Mannheim editions both left out major sections of text, and contained long, clunky, badly-translated and almost unintelligibly long sentences,” according to the publisher’s description.
“In sharp contrast, the only authorized ‘Stalag’ edition contains none of these complicated and unnecessarily confused constructions, and is extremely easy to read, as anyone familiar with the other versions will immediately notice.
“Most importantly, this only authorized edition contains the full text of the original German—and none of the deliberately-inserted racial pejoratives used in the Murphy and Mannheim versions (words which Hitler never actually used in the original).
“The name of the translator was never released by the Eher Verlag, and has now been permanently lost to history. An English-speaking party member, his use of British English spelling throughout would indicate that his language instruction either took place in Britain or that his instructors were of British origin, rather than American.”