Book Listing Hitler as a ‘Great Leader’ Is Removed from Publisher’s Website
NEW DELHI — An Indian publisher has removed from its online store a children’s book that included Hitler on a list of world leaders who “devoted their lives for the betterment of their country and people.”
The book, titled “Leaders” but previously listed on the publisher’s website as “Great Leaders,” spotlights 11 world figures “who will inspire you.” On its cover, Hitler is featured alongside Barack Obama, Nelson Mandela and Mohandas K. Gandhi, among others.
Published by the Pegasus imprint of B. Jain Publishing Group of India, the book came under fire this month after the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a global human rights organization researching the Holocaust and hate in historical and contemporary contexts, called the decision to include Hitler an “abomination.”
In a statement released this week, Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate director of the center, hailed the removal of the 48-page book from the publisher’s online store, where it was sold for about $1.70.
“The children of this great nation should be reading ‘The Diary of Anne Frank,’ ” he said, “not a picture book that lists Hitler as a ‘great’ leader alongside Gandhi, Mandela, Modi, Churchill and Obama.”
Annshu Juneja, the publishing manager for Pegasus, did not respond to a question by email about why the book had been taken off the website. It is unclear when the book was removed.
In parts of Asia, atrocities committed in Nazi Germany are poorly understood, and Hitler is sometimes glorified as a strong, effective leader.
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Rohee Dasgupta, an associate professor at the Jindal School of International Affairs who studies Jewish culture and identity, said that India’s history curriculum failed to educate students about the Holocaust.
In 2004, high school textbooks used in the state of Gujarat spoke highly of Hitler, saying he had “made untiring efforts to make Germany self-reliant” and “instilled the spirit of adventure in the common people.” The book mentions only briefly the extermination of millions of Jews and others during World War II.
“From the Indian perspective, it’s an ignorance of history,” Ms. Dasgupta said.
Follow Kai Schultz on Twitter: @Kai_Schultz.