BEACON TRANSCRIPT – Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, a book publisher from Boston, decided to give away all the proceeds from Adolf Hitler’s manifesto “Mein Kampf” sales to a Jewish organization that supports the survivors of the Holocaust.
The publisher’s decision was sparked by criticism coming from the Jewish community that it had donated proceeds to various cultural organizations but not to groups that fight off anti-Semitism.
Andrew Russell of the publishing house said that the company teamed up with Combined Jewish Philanthropies to turn its decision into reality. The money from selling the controversial book will be redirected to Jewish Family & Children’s Service of Greater Boston.
The proceeds are designed to provide direct support to aging “victims of the horrific events of the Holocaust, ” in Russell’s own words. However, the company has a two-decade long experience in donating proceeds from the book to Boston organizations that are focused on fighting anti-Semitism.
Last year, on the other hand, the publisher announced that it would donate proceeds to other cultural organizations, which stirred a backlash from Jewish advocates. Ever since they have been advocating for the money to be used only on Holocaust-focused groups.
Rimma Zelfand, head of the JF&CS, explained that the money would be used to aid old Holocaust survivors that need more health care than the organization can currently cover. The Boston publisher declined to unveil how much money Mein Kampf generates in a year.
The German dictator wrote Mein Kampf after his incarceration for a failed attempt to overthrow the government in Bavaria, one of the 16 federal states in Germany, in 1923. Ten years later, after the Nazi party had taken control of the country, millions of copies were printed.
The book is controversial and has been banned in Germany for its anti-Semitic views and ultra-nationalist ideology which contributed to the Holocaust and World War II.
The Boston publisher has a tradition of publishing the book continuously ever since 1933. During the global conflagration, it donated proceedings to the U.S. Justice Department. Between 1979 and 2000, it preserved the proceedings for itself. After 2000, it decided to use the money to fight off anti-Semitism.
Several Jewish organizations praised the decision as anti-Semitic views are on the rise across the world. The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) underscored the importance of taking a stand against anti-Semitism and educating the younger generations.
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