Amazon has failed to remove “vile, racist” Nazi propaganda books from its online store more than a month after receiving complaints about them.
The e-commerce company did not respond to critism from the Holocaust Education Trust (HET) about antisemitic books on sale including Der Giftpilz (“the poisonous mushroom”), published in 1938 by Julius Streicher, a Nazi who was executed following the Nuremburg Trials for crimes agiainst humanity.
The children’s book uses an offensive metaphor comparing Jews to toadstools, which it says are dangerous but hard to distinguish from harmless mushrooms.
Streicher was also editor of the virulently antisemitic Nazi propaganda newspaper Der Sturmer.
Former chancellor Sajid Javid called on Amazon to remove the book from sale, along with two others by the same publisher and several more identified as antisemitic.
Mr Javid thanked the HET for highlighting the issue, tweeting: “Amazon will want to demonstrate that it’s a responsible company by acting quickly and stopping the sale of this vile, racist material.”
Amazon declined to comment. The listing for Der Giftpilz on Amazon’s website states that it is a rare picture book “much sought after by collectors”.
Some reviews on Amazon state that the book could have educational value as a historical document of the Nazi regime. Other comments include antisemitic statements which have been flagged to Amazon but which have not been taken down.
Der Giftpilz is also offered for sale on other sites including eBay, Abe Books and the Book Depository.
HET chief executive Karen Pollock, who wrote to Amazon demanding the removal of the book, said: “This book is obscene. 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.
“We have already raised our concerns about similar issues over the past decade.
“As the Holocaust moves from living history to history, our survivors regularly raise the concern that Holocaust denial and antisemitism still persist.
“We urge Amazon to do the right thing and remove this material from sale immediately, audit what else it may be on sale, and review their policies to prevent this ever happening again.”
The book has been on sale on Amazon’s marketplace since July 2017, alongside other antisemitic tracts, The Mongrel and The Jewish Question in the Classroom.
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.”