In a reversal of the aphorism "history belongs to the victors", genocidal dictator Adolf Hitler has been featured in a new children’s book about great leaders.
The book, Leaders, was first published in July 2016 by Indian company Pegasus Books, but it was its appearance at a book fair in the Indian city of Kochi, which boasts a long Jewish heritage, which brought it to wider attention.
According to the publisher’s website:
"In the time that feels devoid of great leadership, we have found men and women who will inspire you. 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."
It then goes on to list the leaders, which include "Adolf Hitler – Barack Obama - Mahatma Gandhi - Napoleon Bonaparte - Narendra Modi - Nelson Mandela - Winston Churchill."
Earlier this week, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre called for the publisher to remove Great Leaders from sale. Currently, the publisher’s website displays a blank page where the book should be.
Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre said: “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.”
Hitler on the cover of a children's book about "Great Leaders" - WTF?!— Gerald Posner (@geraldposner) March 16, 2018
It's not a sick joke. Website for Indian publisher @bjain_publisher says it's "men and women who will inspire you...who have devoted their lives for the betterment of their country..."https://t.co/rzuc8NW6Li pic.twitter.com/cligGZVXB3
Pegasus spokesperson Annshu Juneja told the New York Times that Hitler was featured because “his leadership skills and speeches influenced masses.”
“We are not talking about his way of conduct or his views or whether he was a good leader or a bad leader but simply portraying how powerful he was as a leader,” he said.
At the time of writing, the book was still available for sale on Amazon's website.