Cover of an anti-Semitic book sold on the Amazon site. (Screenshot/Amazon) Screenshot/Amazon
Cover of an anti-Semitic book sold on the Amazon site.

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“We believe that providing access to written speech is important, including books that some may find objectionable,” Amazon said in a statement.

By United with Israel Staff

Amazon founder, chief executive officer and president Jeff Bezos was asked to remove “Nazi propaganda” from its UK website by the Holocaust Educational Trust (H.E.T.) and Auschwitz Memorial organization on Friday. The retail giant has yet to comply.

One of the book sold on Amazon is “Der Giftpilz” (“The Poisonous Mushroom”), a children’s book published in 1938 intended to instill anti-Semitic propaganda. Written by Ernst Hiemer, illustrated by Philipp Rupprecht and published by Julius Streicher, it compares distinguishing poisonous mushrooms from edible mushrooms with differentiating between Jews from gentiles.

The book was used to warn German children about the dangers posed by Jews, whom it claimed were destroying Germany with child molestation, communism, animal torture, and kidnapping. The book also accuses Jews of using the blood of Christian children to make matzohs, killing Jesus, and other common anti-Semitic canards.

The book is such a well known work of hate-mongering that a copy is on display at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.

In its complaint, H.E.T. emphasized that Julius Streicher was executed for “crimes against humanity” and that the book was used as evidence in the Nuremberg Trials as a source of anti-Semitic education.

The letter, signed by Karen Pollock MBE, chief executive of H.E.T., said “that the ready availability of Nazi propaganda is an issue of profound concern…As the Holocaust moves from living history to history, our survivors regularly raise the concern that Holocaust denial and anti-Semitism still persist.”

The letter called out the retail giant for its part in disseminating anti-Semitic materials that “have already raised our concerns about similar issues over the past decade. Given the frequency of issues of hateful items being sold on Amazon, we feel that this issue has still not been properly addressed.”

Pollock asked for offending books to be immediately removed and for Amazon’s policies to be reviewed to stop occurrences like this from happening again. “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” it said.

The book is available from Amazon in the U.S. for $10.

The Auschwitz Museum posted on Twitter additional anti-Semitic publications sold on Amazon.

Amazon replied to the complaint in a statement. “We believe that providing access to written speech is important, including books that some may find objectionable, though we take concerns from the Holocaust Educational Trust seriously and are listening to its feedback,” the New York Times reported.

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