Indian publisher urged to pull book calling Hitler a ‘great leader’

Children’s tome includes Nazi dictator among Barack Obama, Nelson Mandela, praising him for devoting his life to ‘betterment of country and people’

An Indian publisher has come under fire for a children’s book that lists Adolf Hitler among a group of great world leaders.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center called on Pegasus, a children’s imprint of the B. Jain publishing house, to pull the book “Great Leaders” off shelves and from its online catalog Thursday.

The book’s cover includes pictures of Hitler, Barack Obama, Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi and current Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and praises them as world-leading visionaries.

The cover of the Great Leaders book. (Screen capture:

“In the time that feels devoid of great leadership, we have found men and women who will inspire you,” reads a description of the book on the Pegasus website. “Some of them are famous, others little known, but all of them energize their followers and try to make the world better. The book talks about 11 leaders who have devoted their lives for the betterment of their country and people, and emerged with a great leadership at the time of crisis.”

Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Wiesenthal Center, expressed outrage over the book’s inclusion of Hitler and description of him.

“This description 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 WWII – which left tens of millions dead and mass murdered 6 million Jews during the Nazi Holocaust,” Cooper said in a statement Thursday, after the book was spotted at a fair in the southern Indian city of Cochin.

Hitler store and owner (photo credit: screenshot/ TYT)
Hitler store and owner (photo credit: screenshot/ TYT)

Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” is widely available in southeast Asia, and in some places he is seen as a pop culture figure and not necessarily as a sign of overt anti-Semitism.  In 2012, a store in Ahmedbad, India, reluctantly changed its name from Hitler after an outcry, though the owner said he did not know anything about the Nazi leader or Holocaust and had named the shop after his grandfather.

Last year, an Indonesian museum removed a wax figure of Hitler after the Wiesenthal Center complained. The  marketing director told the Associated Press at the time that the figure, one of the museum’s most popular, was “just entertainment.”

The Great Leaders book also includes Myanmar leader Ang San Suu Kyi, a onetime human rights icon who has since come under harsh criticism for her country’s treatment of it’s Rohingya Muslim minority. Earlier this month, the US Holocaust Memorial and Museum rescinded its Elie Wiesel human rights prize to her.

There was no immediate response from Pegasus. The book was still available for sale online as of Friday morning.

The publisher does not appear to be related to the New York-based Pegasus publishing house.

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