Auschwitz Museum Calls Out Jeff Bezos, Amazon For Selling Nazi Propaganda

Amazon has been urged to remove an anti-Semitic children's book for sale on its website. The book was written by a Nazi who was executed for crimes against humanity.

The British-based Holocaust Educational Trust described their disgust after seeing that "distinguished publishers" such as Amazon sold copies of Julius Streicher's The Poisonous Mushroom online. Streicher was a member of the Nazi Party and founded the anti-Semitic newspaper Der Stürmer, which was used to promote the group's propaganda.

Originally published in 1938, The Poisonous Mushroom coloring book uses a string of anti-Semitic troupes to teach children that Jewish people "abuse little boys and girls."

The book was used as evidence during Streicher's Nuremberg Trial, after which he was executed.

"This book brands the Jew as a persecutor of the labor class, as a race defiler, devil in human form, a poisonous mushroom, and a murderer," according to a record of the trial. "This particular book instructed school children to recognize the Jew by caricature of his physical features... and that the Jewish Bible permits all crimes.

"The Defendant Streicher's periodical Der Stürmer... in particular, went to such extremes as to publish the statement that Jews at the ritual celebration of their Passover slaughtered Christians."

As noted by the Auschwitz Memorial's Twitter account, copies of Streicher's "hateful, virulently antisemitic Nazi propaganda" could be found being sold online on Amazon's U.S., U.K, and German websites.

"Such books should be removed immediately," the account tweeted to Amazon's owner Jeff Bezos.

Newsweek was able to confirm that Streicher's book The Mongrel and The Jewish Question in the Classroom were listed in the "frequently bought together" section on the page where users could purchase The Poisoned Mushroom on the Amazon UK website.

Other books by Heinrich Himmler—the second most powerful person in the Third Reich—were also available to buy. Books by Alfred Rosenberg, one of the principle ideologues of the Nazi Party, were also available for purchase.

"As the Holocaust moves from living history to history, out survivors regularly raise concern that Holocaust denial and anti-Semitism still persist," Karen Pollock, chief executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, said in an open letter to Amazon.

"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."

This is not the first time Amazon has been criticized for selling far-right material on its website.

In December, Amazon was one of several major retailers to be condemned by the The Council on American-Islamic Relations for selling white supremacist material. One of the books was The Turner Diaries, an infamous "neo-Nazi race war" book by William Luther Pierce under the pseudonym Andrew Macdonald which is said to have inspired the Oklahoma Bombing.

Timothy McVeigh, who killed 168 people after bombing a federal building in Oklahoma City in 1995, was said to have kept pages of the novel in a plastic bag in his car, as well as selling copies of it at gun shows.

Amazon also previously sold copies of Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf, accompanied by a full Nazi blurb at a price tag which was a coded reference to white supremacy.

"Given the frequency of issues of hateful items being sold on Amazon, we feel that this issue—which a number of our supporters have contacted us about—still has not been properly addressed," Pollock added.

In a statement to Newsweek, an Amazon spokesperson said: "As a bookseller, we are mindful of book censorship throughout history, and we do not take this lightly.

"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.

"Amazon has policies governing which books can be listed for sale. We invest significant time and resources to ensure our guidelines are followed, and remove products that do not adhere to our guidelines.

"Additionally, beyond our proactive measures, we also promptly investigate all concerns raised."

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Amazon.com founder and CEO Jeff Bezos presents the company's first smartphone, the Fire Phone, on June 18, 2014 in Seattle, Washington. Amazon has yet again come under fire for selling far-right and Nazi materials on their website. David Ryder/Getty
Auschwitz Museum Calls Out Jeff Bezos, Amazon For Selling Nazi Propaganda | U.S.