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Kids' book features Hitler among 'great leaders'

March 17, 2018

The book "would bring tears of joy to neo-Nazis," a Jewish human rights organization has said. Adolf Hitler carries a certain fascination in some parts of the world that were largely untouched by his atrocities.

Indien - Kinder - Lesen
Image: picture alliance/dpa/J. Kalaene

Indian publisher Pegasus landed itself in hot water this week when it emerged that its "Great Leaders" book for children included Adolf Hitler.

Pictured alongside freedom fighters Mathama Gandhi and Nelson Mandela, the book chose Hitler as one of the "powerful world leaders who have dedicated their lives to the betterment of their countries and the people living in them."

Also included in the book are current Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, controversial Burmese leader Aung San Suu Kyi and former US President Barack Obama.

"Dedicated to the betterment of countries and people? Adolf Hitler? This description would bring tears of joy to the Nazis and their racist neo-Nazi heirs," said Abraham Cooper of the Jewish human rights organization the Wiesenthal Center.

"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," Cooper said.

Hitler's legacy in India

The Wiesenthal Center demanded Pegasus remove the 2016 book from store shelves, saying it would call on the firm's offices in the UK, Mexico and the United Arab Emirates, amongst others. 

In some parts of the subcontinent and southeast Asia, where the realities of Hitler's crimes have not been well transmitted, the dictator holds a certain fascination for many.

Western visitors are often shocked by the prevalence of "Mein Kampf" at most prominent bookstores.

Elizabeth Schumacher Elizabeth Schumacher reports on gender equity, immigration, poverty and education in Germany.