Indian publisher pulls children’s book celebrating Hitler as ‘amazing leader’

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MUMBAI: An Indian publisher has withdrawn a children’s book which included Adolf Hitler on a list of “amazing leaders … who have devoted their lives [to] the betterment of their country and people,” reported the Guardian.

Pegasus, the children’s books imprint of India’s B Jain Publishing Group, confirmed that its title ‘Leaders’ was no longer available for sale, following widespread criticism of its decision to feature Hitler in the book, alongside the likes of Gandhi, Winston Churchill, Barack Obama and Nelson Mandela.

Published in 2016, the non-fiction title, aimed at children, provided biographies of 11 “amazing leaders”. According to Pegasus’s description of the book, which also featured Napoleon Bonaparte, India’s prime minister Narendra Modi and Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi, “some are famous, others little known, but all of them energise their followers and try to make the world better.” Hitler was also featured on the cover of the book.

The withdrawal of the book follows worldwide outrage, including from Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre in the US, who said the description of Hitler as “dedicated to the betterment of countries and people” would “bring tears of joy to the Nazis and their racist neo-Nazi heirs”.

“Adolf Hitler was a visionary – his vision almost destroyed our planet; started the second world war, which left tens of millions dead and mass-murdered six million Jews during the Nazi Holocaust,” said Cooper. “Placing Hitler alongside truly great political and humanitarian leaders is an abomination that is made worse as it targets young people with little or no knowledge of world history and ethics.”

Pegasus’s publishing director Annshu Juneja told the New York Times earlier this month, when the book was still on sale, that there had been no previous complaints about it. He said Hitler was included in the book because “his leadership skills and speeches influenced masses”.

“We are not talking about his conduct or his views or whether he was a good leader or a bad leader but simply portraying how powerful he was as a leader,” Juneja said in the interview.