Newspaper defends Hitler letter

The Swindon Advertiser has defended its decision to publish a reader's letter which praised Hitler.

The reader asked how Britain could come to terms with the government's austerity measures, before noting that Hitler had faced a similar economic situation when elected in Germany in 1933.

The letter concluded: "This, however, did not prevent him from embarking on a programme of extensive social and civil construction that included the innovative and costly systems of motorways.

"Then, most remarkably, he proceeded to develop a mighty military capability, almost medieval in conception that, with inspiration, its charismatic leader challenged the world in 1939, and nearly succeeded."

Board of Deputies chief executive Jon Benjamin wrote to the newspaper to complain: "While there are sadly deluded individuals who praise Hitler and his works, surely no one can seriously hold up the Nazi economic experiment (leaving aside the issue of totalitarianism and genocide) as having been anything other than an unmitigated disaster."

Assistant editor Stephen Webb replied to one Jewish complainant: "Our letters pages give readers the opportunity to offer their opinions on all sorts of issues and topics.

"Letters are not rejected simply because they are controversial. We realised the Hitler letter raised sensitive issues, but that was not a reason to exclude it."

    Last updated: 1:32pm, March 8 2012