Maus author says Tennessee book banning wasn't antisemitic

The acclaimed Holocaust graphic novel was banned by a US school board last month


US comic book artist Art Spiegelman poses on March 20, 2012 in Paris, prior to the private viewing of his exhibition 'Co-Mix', which will run from March 21 to May 21, 2012 at the Pompidou centre. The Swedish-born New Yorker Spiegelman, 62, is known as the creator of "Maus", an animal fable of his Jewish father's experience in the Holocaust -- the only comic book to have won a Pulitzer Prize, the top US book award. AFP PHOTO / BERTRAND LANGLOIS (Photo by BERTRAND LANGLOIS / AFP) (Photo by BERTRAND LANGLOIS/AFP via Getty Images)

The author of controversial Holocaust graphic novel Maus has said he doesn't believe the banning of his book was an antisemitic incident.

Art Spiegelman, in an interview with New York Magazine said:“I feel like this wasn’t an actual anti-Semitic incident. It was an incident created by somebody who probably knows very few Jews,"

“The thing that really upset them was me yelling at my father for burning the diaries. I guess it would’ve been better, for the school board, to say, ‘Gee whiz, Pop — I wish you hadn’t done it!’ But that would not have been accurate to my intensity of horror.”

According to local news site, TNHoller, the vote to ban the book passed unanimously at the McMinn county school board meeting as members lined up to criticise the book for its supposedly graphic content.

Tony Allman, a board member, said: “Why does the educational system promote this kind of stuff, it is not wise or healthy… I am not denying it was horrible, brutal, and cruel. It’s like when you’re watching tv and a cuss word or nude scene comes on it would be the same movie without it. Well, this would be the same book without it…"

Maus, a graphic novel serialized from 1980 to 1991, depicts author Art Spiegelman interviewing his father about his experiences as a Polish Jew and Holocaust survivor.

In 1992, it became the first graphic novel to win the esteemed Pulitzer prize for fiction, and remains the only cartoon to have won the award 30 years later.

Read more:

Worrying if children should be reading Maus doesn’t make school board bigots

Removing Maus from the curriculum betrays education and morality

Share via

Want more from the JC?

To continue reading, we just need a few details...

Want more from
the JC?

To continue reading, we just
need a few details...

Get the best news and views from across the Jewish world Get subscriber-only offers from our partners Subscribe to get access to our e-paper and archive