_Time_ magazine, March 24, 1941, p. 96. (Book review.) A Modest Proposal Germany Must Perish! -- Theodore N. Kaufman -- Argyle Press ($1). In 1729 the great Dean Swift made his famed "Modest Proposal" for curing the economic ills of Ireland: sell its starving children as dressed meat. Last week U.S. book reviewers were in receipt of a modern modest proposal. No less grisly than the Dean's, it was not even supposed to be ironic. The grisliness preceded the proposal. One day reviewers unwrapped a small, oblong parcel, found inside a miniature black cardboard coffin with a hinged lid. In it was a card reading, "Read GERMANY MUST PERISH! Tomorrow you will receive your copy." There was no identification of the sender. _Germany Must Perish!_ proved to be a brief (104-page) enshrinement of a single sensational idea. Since Germans are the perennial disturbers of the world's peace, says the book, they must be dealt with like any homicidal criminals. But it is unnecessary to put the whole German nation to the sword. It is more humane to sterile them. "The army groups, as organized units, would be the easiest and quickest to deal with. Taking 20,000 surgeons as an arbitrary number and on the assumption that each will perform a minimum of 25 operations daily, it would take no more than one month, at the maximum, to complete their sterilization.... The balance of the male civilian population of Germany would be treated within three months. Inasmuch as sterilization of women needs somewhat more time, it may be computed that the entire female population of Germany would be sterilized within a period of three years of less." The normal yearly death rate is two percent. Thus, "in the span of two generations" there would be no Germans left. Startled readers wondered whether the strange book was a landmark, the first appearance of the Streicher mind in the U.S. Few recognized the name of the author, Theodore N. Kaufman. But in 1939 it had appeared as chairman of the American Federation of Peace, which urged Congress either 1) to keep the U.S. out of Europe's wars, or 2) to sterilize all Americans so that their children might not become homicidal monsters. In step with the times, Sterilizer Kaufman had simply transferred his basic idea to the enemy. No Nazi, Theodore Newman Kaufman, 31, is a Manhattan-born Jew who has been an advertising man, once published the _New Jersey Legal Record_, now runs a successful theatre ticket agency in Newark, N.J. Widely traveled, he is especially fond of the Sahara Desert, where, he says, "you look at the horizon all day long and feel that you are staring at eternity." In Biskra he frequented the Algerian salon of Winston Churchill's cousin, Sculptress Clare Sheridan (_Arab Interlude_). _Germany Must Perish!_ is his first book. "Strictly a one-man job" (he claims he has no organization, no help, no backers), it was worked on for four months. Then he founded the Argyle Press to publish it. The coffins were not Kaufman's first idea. He had another, but it was so horrible he prefers not to talk about it. Western Union refused to deliver the coffins and books; they said they were afraid the Nazis might stop their German cable service. So Author Kaufman used the mails, first running down to Washington to make sure the Post Office had no objections. "I am a great believer in our Government," he says, "and I certainly did not want to do anything against the law." Kaufman did all the mailing himself, lugged bundles, licked labels, cut his hands with twine. How much all this cost him is Kaufman's secret. He did not offer the book to a regular publisher because he did not want to be edited, and "I would not write a book like that for any amount of money." Financially he thinks he may break even. He feels that "in a lesser degree, of course," he is signing away his life in the way that the men who signed the Declaration of Independence signed away theirs. But Sterilizer Kaufman is not afraid. He has thought deeply about sterilizing the Germans, believes that it is practical and easy to organize. "It would be just like registering for social security," says he. _Time_ magazine, April 14, 1941, p. 4. (Letter to the editor.) "Most Noble Message" Sirs: _Time_ for March 24 ended brilliantly with a long review of a book with a long review of a book with a most noble message -- that of sterilizing the German race as a whole. If _Time_ is suffering from a paucity of reviewing matter that it gives such important space to the mephitic work of a man whose whole book is evidently based on one fatuous idea, let _Time_'s book reviewers look around for something which might contribute more to American letters or at least be newsworthy. Mrs. Walter Boerger Sheboygan, Wis. Theodore N. Kaufman's book, _Germany Must Perish!_, contributed nothing to U.S. letters but it was newsworthy. _Time_ definitely pronounced his plan "grisly." -- Ed.
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