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Shofar FTP Archive File: people/k/kaufman.theodore.nathan/press/time-review-perish-194103


_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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