The Municipal Government of Munich, Germany hosted the first annual "Main Kampf Fair", celebrating the most noted work of Adolf Hitler, from December 18-23. The turnout of 130,000 exceeded organizers' expectations.
The date has no special significance, but was chosen to even out the tourist flow and not conflict with regularly held Oktoberfest and Classical music events.
Paul Heinzflet, coordinator of the event said, "We realize it is controversial to feature a work of Hitler, but we think it is time to recognize him as a multi-faceted individual, rather than as an abstract symbol of evil. In addition to being a nationalist political leader, he was also an author, a lover of music-notably Wagner-and even dabbled in automobile design, contributing to the development of the Volkswagen car. He was named 'Man of the Year' for 1938 by Time Magazine. He was a true polymath, a lover as well as a fighter."
Although organizers do not deny his involvement in ethnic cleansing policies which led to the deaths of what they term "a rather large number of people", they laud the best-selling author for his forceful writing style.
Carl Hertz, critic at "Die Literutur", said, "Social and economic treatises can be the most boring writing in the world, and quite confusing, but Adolf personalizes it and frames it as a struggle of the German people against a conspiring villain. He makes it exciting and easy to understand. That is his genius!"
While a smattering of neo-Nazi types could be seen at local Hitler-themed historical sites, the bulk of visitors appeared to be ordinary folks, both German and foreign.
"We're from Des Moines," said American Les Andersen, with his wife Beatrice. "We couldn't make it in October because we've got the harvest to get in, but we figured the beer is just as good in December."
Maria Sinclair of Eden Prairie, Minnesota said, "I heard the classical music events last month were really crowded, but here they have a great Wagner concert and the crowds are pretty moderate."
Literary discussions of the work centered on the influence of Henry Ford's "The International Jew" on Hitler's thinking, and on the contribution of ghost writer Emil Maurice to the work.
The Lebensraum Historical Society defended the event against criticism by noting that no author is perfect. "Horatio Alger was accused of child molesting, and Edgar Allen Poe was an opium addict. We all make mistakes; that's was makes us human," she said.