May 3, 2016
Boston Children’s Museum doesn’t want any of that Mein Kampf money
by Taylor Sperry
. . . and others might not either.
For 16 of the past 80+ years that Houghton Mifflin Harcourt has been publishing Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf, the Boston-based publisher has been donating a portion of proceeds from the book’s sale to “specialized organizations that have used the funds as a sort of direct moral equalizer, putting them toward Holocaust education or programs that combat anti-Semitism,” Malcolm Gay reports for the Boston Globe.
But recently, the publisher has made a “delicate pivot” to channel Mein Kampf profits into programs that “promote tolerance more generally.” Andrew Russell, director of corporate social responsibility at HMH, says fewer than ten organizations have been approached about receiving grants from the publisher’s controversial fund, but he “can’t really be surprised by anyone’s decision not to accept those funds.” So far, only the Boston Children’s Museum has officially declined:
“I felt personally that this was not the right fit,” said museum president Carole Charnow. “This was not a rational decision.”
While she’s declined a grant funded by the profits from Mein Kampf, she did add, “To essentially right the wrongs of the book and convert its negative intent to good by supporting efforts to promote racial and religious intolerance—it’s a beautiful vision.”
Taylor Sperry is a former Melville House editor.