Nazi chapter in firm's past

Publié le par New York Daily News

JournalNew York Daily News published 13/12/1998 at 12:00 AM bY Celia Mcgee

Global media giant Bertelsmann published Nazi propaganda during the Hitler era, according to a report in the current issue of The Nation. Despite its claims over the years that the company was shut down by the Nazis during World War II, the German conglomerate which also is the largest American book publisher printed texts sympathetic to the Nazis, as well as anti-Semitic volumes, and books for the German military before and during the war, according to the article. The piece by American journalist John Friedman and German reporter Hersch Fischler says Bertelsmann's pro-Nazi titles had an especially high circulation, becoming the SS' and the army's biggest supplier, with more than 20 million books in print. Bertelsmann's management has long denied involvement with the Nazis.

An official company history says the original Bertelsmann, primarily a religious publisher, was closed by the Nazis in 1944. Its stance became particularly adamant this year, after its acquisition of Random House and merger with Bertelsmann's Bantam Doubleday Dell publishing division. In a written statement issued Friday night, Bertelsmann chairman Thomas Middelhoff reiterated the claims. "During the Nazi era there were clearly some titles published by Bertelsmann which were not consistent with our values. These books were not at all representative of the thousands of books published by Bertelsmann during that time, and we find their content abhorrent," Middelhoff added. "We take our social responsibility seriously and will meet this responsibility in the course of an independent critical review of our company's history.

Publié dans Articles de Presse

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