German Publisher Forced to "Recycle"Book

ThoughtCrime: 02/15/95
Published: 1995-02-15

"Thoughtcrime does not entail death: thoughtcrime IS death."
George Orwell

In February 1995, thousands of copies of a revisionist work detailing postwar Jewish crimes against Germans were destroyed, following bitter attacks by Germany's cultural establishment.

The book, "An Eye for an Eye: The Untold Story of Jewish Revenge Against Germans in 1945," was published in the United States in 1993 by Basic Books of New York, a division of the publishing firm of HarperCollins.

Written by American journalist John Sack, the work details the long-suppressed story of killing and mistreatment of Germans in brutal postwar prison camps in Poland.

Although the essential facts of Sack's book are quietly acknowledged by scholars, Germany's cultural and political establishment insists that Germans must not be permitted to read the work, citing fear that it could be "exploited" by "right-wing extremists" who play down the Holocaust story.

Typical was the comment of Ralph Giordano, a prominent German Jewish writer. While admitting that he had not read Sack's work, he dismissed it as "vulgar artistic fetish."

An influential German critic, Eike Geisel, bitterly denounced Sack's book as a sensationalist, "vile docudrama" and a "gift to neo-Nazis." Geisel's Jan. 26 review, published under the headline "Anti-Semitic Fodder," provoked a barrage of complaints to the book's reputable Munich publisher, R. Piper.

All 6,000 copies of the already-printed German edition were stacked in a Stuttgart warehouse when Piper publisher Viktor Niemann decided to destroy them. "They will be recycled," Niemann said Feb. 13.

Citing information from Germany's Federal Archives, Sack writes that 60,000 to 80,000 ethnic Germans were killed or otherwise perished between 1945 and 1948 in camps run by the Polish communist regime's Office of State Security. Jews played a dominant role in the Office, as they did in similar agencies in other European countries occupied by Soviet Russia during the Second World War. Many of the prisoners were beaten and tortured to death, or died of typhus and other diseases.

This is not the first time that Sack, a 64-year-old Jew from New York, has encountered such censorship. An American magazine, an American publishing house, and a German newspaper had earlier backed off from previous commitments to tell the story.

A key figure in Sack's book, Solomon Morel, fled to Israel last year from Poland after prosecutors began questioning him about his killings of Germans (and some Poles) in the Swietochlowice prison camp he had administered.

Adapted from: The Journal of Historical Review, Vol. XV, No.1 Jan/Feb 1995. PO Box 2739, Newport Beach, CA 92659.

Additional information about this document
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Author(s): CODOH News
Title: German Publisher Forced to "Recycle"Book, ThoughtCrime: 02/15/95
Sources: The Journal of Historical Review, Vol. XV, No.1 Jan/Feb 1995
Published: 1995-02-15
First posted on CODOH: June 29, 1996, 7 p.m.
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