Czechs translate Hitler book

The book's planned publication angered a human rights group, the Czech Freedom Fighters, which also may sue Otakar II.

"If somebody wants to launch the book without any commentaries, it is really fascist propaganda," Jakub Cermin, the group's chairman, said.

Publisher Michal Zitko, meanwhile, said last week he would deny a request made by the German Embassy in Prague not to distribute the book.

"No one has made me think that I should not publish it. Hitler was one of the 10 most important people in history, and he influenced the whole of Europe. This is a historical document about a dead man."

Zitko argued that the text requires no footnotes.

"People have said there should be some sort of commentary on the text, but I don't know how long it should be, who should write it and what should be included."

Zitko also predicted that the publicity surrounding his publishing plans would likely boost sales.

"I had expected some kind of reaction, but not as much as it has had. Thanks to the huge media coverage, the books will obviously be sold."

The German state of Bavaria, which owns the rights to the book, is now seeking to stop its distribution in the Czech Republic and has asked the German government to take action, according to Czech press reports.

A spokesman for the Finance Ministry of Bavaria told the Czech daily Pravo that the Bavarian authorities had successfully prevented publication of "Mein Kampf" in Croatia, Turkey and Sweden in the early 1990s.

The ministry does not view the book as a literary work, the spokesman said, adding that German officials consider it as much a symbol of Nazism as the swastika.

Czech police are now investigating whether publishing the book violates Czech law.