On In History & Religion

Mein Kampf Success: What Happened to Adolf Hitler’s Money?

While serving a sentence for high treason as a result of the failed 1923 Beer Hall Putsch, Adolf Hitler penned the first volume of "Mein Kampf" (My Struggle), his political manifesto.  The original idea behind the book was not just to write a political tract, but also to reduce the costs of Hitler's treason trial that was set to be held in 1924. The sales of the book initially did not capture Germany's attention, however, after several attempts, it hit the market big. It was later translated into 16 different languages and had already sold around 8 million copies by the time Hitler died in 1945. It was estimated that the book had earned a million dollars each year, only in royalties. There is no denying that Mein Kampf brought Hitler a lot of money, probably more than he could have ever expected, let us find out what happened to his money after his death.

A flyleaf of the original edition of Mein Kampf.

Hitler was a struggling artist who had little money when he was a young man. He fought in World War I and then joined the recently formed Nazi Party. It was in 1923 during the failed coup against the Bavarian government that Hitler and his Nazi cohorts ended up serving time in prison for treason. Hitler spent less than a year in the Landsberg prison and it was there that he wrote his political manifesto and autobiography.The anti-Semitic treatise was published in two volumes and its popularity grew with the rising popularity and power of its dictator author.In 1933, Hitler became the German Chancellor and it was in that year on that every newlywed couple in Germany received a free copy of “Mein Kampf”. The municipalities had to purchase the book from the publishers. Sales of “Mein Kampf” topped 10 million copies by the year 1945, and its royalties made Hitler a rich man.

The State of Bavaria

The allies gave the copyright of “Mein Kampf” to the Bavarian government after the war, and the government banned any reprinting of the dictator’s work in German-speaking territories. After the European copyright of “Mein Kampf” expired on the 70th anniversary of the author’s death on April 30, 2015, it entered into public domain.Aside from the royalties he received from this political manifesto, Hitler’s assets also included Berghof, a home in the Bavarian Alps and an apartment in Munich. Hitler wrote a will prior to his death in April 1945, stating that all of his assets to be transferred to the Nazi Party. But with the abolition of the latter, Hitler’s remaining assets were transferred to the state of Bavaria, where he was a registered resident.

The Berghof

The Fuhrer’s Alpine retreat near Berchtesgaden had already been damaged by the bombings set by soldiers, and what was left of it was further blown up by the government in 1952. The decision to destroy the Berghof was taken into account to prevent it from becoming a tourist attraction. The apartment building in Munich is still upstanding and it's been turned into a police station.There's so much about Adolf Hitler that we don't know, right?