Amazon under fire for selling Nazi propaganda books

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By Euronews
Nazi publisher and notorious anti-Semite Julius Streicher is shown in the courtroom during his trial in Nuremberg, Germany, Feb. 20, 1946.
Nazi publisher and notorious anti-Semite Julius Streicher is shown in the courtroom during his trial in Nuremberg, Germany, Feb. 20, 1946.   -  Copyright  AP Photo/B.I. Sanders

A Holocaust education organisation has slammed e-commerce giant Amazon for selling Nazi propaganda on its website.

The Holocaust Education Trust wrote a letter to the company's UK branch asking them to remove antisemitic books including children's books written by Julius Streicher who was charged and executed during the Nuremberg trials.

Streicher was an antisemitic publisher who edited the antisemitic propaganda tabloid Der Stürmer in the 1920s and 30s. Streicher, who was convicted during Nuremberg of "crimes against humanity" was also close to Hitler.

One of the children's books for sale, The Poisonous Mushroom, was used as evidence during the trials after World War II, the organisation says.

"As the Holocaust moves from living history to history, our survivors regularly raise the concern that Holocaust denial and antisemitism will persist," said the chief executive of the Holocaust Education Trust, Karen Pollock, in a 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."

Many others called for Amazon to take down the books.

The museum of the most well known Nazi extermination camp, Auschwitz, said the "hateful, virulently antisemitic Nazi propaganda" should "be removed immediately".

Many others joined the calls for the material to be removed.

Former UK finance minister Sajid Javid tweeted that Amazon UK would "want to demonstrate that it’s [a] responsible company by acting quickly and stopping the sale of this vile racist material".

The national chair of the Jewish Labour community, Mike Katz, said there was "no debate" that Amazon was selling Nazi propaganda.

Reached by Euronews, 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.”

The books were also available on the German and French versions of Amazon.

One customer review posted to the website said the book showed "the truth", a comment that social media users said showed why the antisemitic book should not be available.

The Nuremberg trial record said Streicher's "Poisonous Mushroom" branded "the Jew as a persecutor of the labour class ... [and] devil in human form," Pollack wrote in her letter.

One social media user and Holocaust educator wrote on Twitter that they had contacted Amazon three times regarding the book's sale but that nothing had happened. UK newspaper the Daily Mail reported the books were for sale back in January.