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Amazon Faces Criticism For Selling 'Obscene' Antisemitic Children's Book Published By A Notorious Nazi In The 1930s

Amazon Faces Criticism For Selling 'Obscene' Antisemitic Children's Book Published By A Notorious Nazi In The 1930s
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To say shopping on Amazon being a major convenience is a prime understatement.

You can find almost anything on Amazon—items far from the mundane like a mushroom farm, a Nicolas Cage sequin pillowcase and even a human finger, but that's besides the point.

There is one item for sale that Amazon could do without and its mere existence is galvanizing the internet.

The loathed item is an antisemitic children's book that was published in the 1930s by an actual Nazi.

The German book – called Der Giftpilz (The Poisoned Mushroom) – was a widely disseminated propaganda piece for children first published by multi-millionaire Julius Streicher in 1938.

The story in the book – which has been translated into English and being sold on Amazon – used an attractive but deadly mushroom as a metaphor to warn about the "dangers" of Jewish people.

In its first few pages, a mother tells her son that it is:

"difficult to recognize the Jews as rogues and criminals."

Streicher was an elementary school teacher who became heavily influenced by endemic antisemitism in pre-war Germany and joined the Nazi Party in 1921.

After hearing Adolf Hitler give a speech in Munich, he believed "it was his destiny to serve Hitler."

Eventually, he founded the antisemitic sensationalist newspaper Der Stürmer in 1923, and Der Giftpilz was one of three children's books his publishing firm released.

The fact that this revolting propaganda piece from the 1930s is available to consumers today is very disturbing.

Adam Milstein – the founder of The Adam and Gila Milstein Family Foundation, which aims to strengthen the Jewish identity of American Jews and their connection to Israel – was appalled.

He tweeted:

"Shame on @amazon for listing and selling vile Nazi propaganda books filled with anti-Semitism branding Jews 'the devil.'"

According to Indy100, Karen Pollock – the chief executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust – expressed her disappointment in Amazon for making the "obscene" book available to consumers in this era.

"This book is obscene. It is worrying that distinguished publishers like Amazon would make available products that promote racist or hate speech of any kind, let alone those from the darkest period of European history."
"We have already raised our concerns about similar issues over the past decade. As the Holocaust moves from living history to history, our survivors regularly raise the concern that Holocaust denial and antisemitism still persist."

Others continued expressing their disgust over the book's availability on Amazon.

Pollock asked the Big Four tech company to "do the right thing" by permanently removing the book, out of respect.

"We urge Amazon to do the right thing and remove this material from sale immediately, audit other items may be on sale, and review their policies to prevent this ever happening again."

While nobody is arguing against these propaganda books to remain in the care of museums and in universities, many believe that Der Giftpilz and other similarly published works have no place in e-commerce for commercial sale.

Streicher was found guilty of crimes against humanity in the Nuremberg trials, during which Der Giftpilz was introduced as evidence.

The trial report read:

"This book brands the Jew as a persecutor of the labour class, as a race defiler, devil in human form, a poisonous mushroom, and a murderer."
"This particular book instructed school children to recognise the Jew by caricature of his physical features, shown on pages 6 and 7; taught them that the Jew abuses little boys and girls, on page 3-; and that the Jewish Bible permits all crime, pages 13 - 17."

He was executed on October 1, 1946.