Antisemitic Nationalists Killed Germany’s Jewish FM. His Mom Forgave Them

Walther Rathenau, one of Germany's wealthiest and most powerful men, was gunned down by radicals in 1922 and mourned by millions. A moving and timeless letter from his mother was read at the murderer's trial.

After her son's murder, Mathilde Rathenau championed forgiveness and reconciliation within German society, and worked to ensure that his legacy would be remembered (Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-L40010/102-00093 / CC-BY-SA 3.0)

In the first days of summer 1922, Germany’s only ever Jewish foreign minister was murdered. Millions mourned him and his mother soon found it in her heart to forgive the murderer, an antisemitic, nationalist radical.

The social and political atmosphere in the Weimar Republic of the early 1920s was both fragile and explosive as republicans, monarchists, socialists, communists, anarchists and other groups worked to implement their respective agendas… sometimes through the auspices of the still novel democratic process, sometimes by force.

Electioneering in Berlin, 1919 (Bundesarchiv, Bild 146-1972-033-15 / Gebrüder Haeckel / CC-BY-SA 3.0)

Antisemitism often went hand-in-hand with political movements and ideologies, particularly those of the more nationalist persuasion. One such group, the Organization Consul (OC), was an avowedly nationalist and antisemitic organization, which aimed to destabilize Weimar democracy in order to establish a military dictatorship. Assassination was the OC’s method of choice and Walther Rathenau, the wealthy, powerful and Jewish foreign minister was perhaps the most obvious target in the Republic.

Walther Rathenau. From the Abraham Schwadron Portrait Collection at the National Library of Israel

Months before the murder, there were explicit news reports that he was being targeted. According to Count Harry Kessler’s biography of the slain leader, just the day before Rathenau’s murder, the chief of police had warned him “that if he persisted in driving to his office from his residence on the outskirts of Berlin in a slow open car, no police in the world could guarantee his safety.”

Yet Rathenau did not heed the chief’s warning and around 10:45 in the morning on June 24, 1922, a Mercedes edged up next to his on the city’s Koenigsallee Road.  Rathenau was shot with a submachine gun, virtually at point blank range. A grenade was tossed into his car for good measure.

A young nurse named Helene Kaiser, who bravely attended to the slain foreign minister immediately following the attack, later recalled that “Rathenau, who was bleeding hard, was still alive and looked up at me. But he seemed to be already unconscious.”

He died shortly after.

Within hours, millions of Germans were mourning Rathenau, even if many disagreed with his politics or philosophy. The trade unions declared a general holiday early the following week. Massive marches took place across the country. A million marched in Berlin, hundreds of thousands in numerous other cities. His body was laid in state in the Reichstag, as the German leadership, alongside domestic and international dignitaries mourned his murder.

Rathenau lying in state in the Reichstag, June 27, 1922 (Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-Z1117-502 / CC-BY-SA 3.0)

The level and type of national mourning was unprecedented in German history and widely compared to the aftermath of Abraham’s Lincoln’s assassination at the end of the American Civil War.

Rathenau was memorialized in various ways, though his official memory was all but erased upon the Nazis’ rise to power a decade after the assassination, when the murderers were celebrated as national heroes in his place.

Unveiling a memorial plaque at the site of the murder, June 1929 (Bundesarchiv, Bild 102-07961 / CC-BY-SA 3.0)

Unfortunately, even in the direct aftermath of the attack, two of the three direct assailants escaped justice, as one was killed in a shootout with police and another took his own life rather than be captured. The third perpetrator, Ernst Werner Techow, who had driven the attack car, was later sentenced to fifteen years in prison.

At the trial, the defense read aloud a letter written by Rathenau’s mother to Techow’s. One contemporary writer beautifully described how Mathilde Rathenau’s words, “revealed the bleeding, agonized yet forgiving Jewish heart to a touched world”:

“In grief unspeakable, I give you my hand. You, of all women, the most pitiable. Say to your son that in the name and spirit of him who was murdered, I forgive, even as God may forgive, if before an earthly judge he makes a full and frank confession of his guilt, and before a heavenly one repent. Had he known my son, the noblest man earth bore, he had rather turned the weapon on himself than on him. May these words give peace to your soul.”


This article has been published as part of Gesher L’Europa, the National Library of Israel’s initiative to connect with people, institutions and communities across Europe and beyond, through storytelling, knowledge sharing and community engagement.

The Bar Mitzvah Gift That Survived the Holocaust

A special dedication in a copy of the book "Mesilat Yasharim" sparked some fascinating detective work tracing the history of the Austrian Jewish community during the Holocaust, and the story of a young man and his family who were murdered by the Nazis...

In March 1938, the German army entered Vienna and the Jews of Austria realized that it was time to leave, and the sooner the better. The annexation of Austria to the Reich, the Anschluss, and the implementation of the Nuremberg Laws brought with them violence, looting and humiliation for Austria’s Jewish citizens.

Vienna before the Holocaust, photo: Yad Vashem

One of the sources of pride for the Jews of Vienna before the Holocaust was the large community library. The initial core of its collections arrived as early as 1814 with the donation of 133 volumes straight from the printing press. With the entry of the Nazis into Vienna, the library contained tens of thousands of books, including 21 incunabula (books produced during the first few years of the printing era) and 645 manuscripts, and was considered one of the most important Jewish libraries in Europe.

It was no wonder that the Nazis were happy to get their hands on it. They closed the library in July 1938 and moved it to Berlin a year later. Other Jewish libraries in Austria were also looted. Some belonged to Jewish organizations and others were private collections. When the Jews of Austria were deported to Eastern Europe, their property was taken to collection depots, including countless books.

In 1941, Austrian Jews were forced to don yellow badges. Soon Jews were being sent to Eastern Europe by transport. Most of Austria’s Jews managed to leave in time, but about 65,000 were murdered by the Nazis during the Holocaust.

Jews in Vienna wearing yellow badges, photo: Yad Vashem

After the war, the community’s books gradually surfaced in various locations across Europe. Part of the Vienna community library had been hidden from the Nazis in the city’s Jewish cemetery. Another part, originally sent to Berlin, was eventually found in Czechoslovakia where it had been moved to escape the bombing raids targeting Germany.

Hundreds of thousands of books stolen throughout Europe by the Nazis were brought to Austria during the war and discovered at Tanzenberg Castle by the British army. Most were returned to the countries from which they were stolen but some remained in Austria. It was only thanks to the tireless work of the National Library of Israel and the Israeli Ministry of Religious Affairs that some 80,000 of the Vienna community’s books eventually made their way to the National Library in Jerusalem.

The National Library affixed a special label to these books attesting to their past.

The Hebrew text of the label reads: “A gift of from the Vienna Jewish community, in memory of the victims of the Holocaust

I recently came across one of these books. A copy of the work known as Mesilat Yasharim, by Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto (Ramchal), a classic text on Jewish ethics.

The cover page features a handwritten Hebrew dedication that was unfortunately hidden under a sticker. I turned to the Library’s conservation and restoration lab and with great professionalism and care they were able to remove the sticker and reveal the fascinating story of the book’s original owner.

The dedication reads:

To the nice persistent and [God-fearing] young man [may his candle shine] David Dov in celebration of his Bar Mitzvah, a gift from the family of S. Schonfeld, Vienna, Thursday, [on the eve of the Holy Sabbath], Parashat [Ki] Tissa, 5696 [1936]

The hand-written dedication

David Dov’s last name did not appear, but the information in the dedication indicated that the Bar Mitzvah boy lived in Vienna. By calculating backwards from the Bar Mitzvah date, I realized that he was born in March, 1923. The next step was to locate him using Yad Vashem’s Central Database of Shoah Victims’ Names. The database is based on information gathered over the decades at Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust memorial, through pages of testimony filled out by family members and friends of the victims.

With the help of the database, I discovered that David Dov’s last name was Neuwirth and that he and his parents and two sisters were murdered in Minsk in 1942. I found more information in the Austrian Victims of the Holocaust database on the Documentation Centre of Austrian Resistance (DÖW) website. David Dov and his family left Vienna on September 14, 1942. Four days later they arrived in Minsk. The train continued to the Maly Trostenets estate not far away. When they finally got off, the Jews of Vienna were marched to the killing pits in the forest and shot to death.

The witness who filled out the testimony page was Ilse Deutsch, David Dov’s sister. It turned out that his older sister had managed to escape from Austria in time. According to the information on Ilse on the genealogy website, she passed away in 2018 but was survived by her four children in London.

The testimony page filled out by Ilse Deutsch, David Dov’s sister, Yad Vashem

With some help from my own family in London, I was able to get in touch with some of the family members. Devorah, one of Ilse’s granddaughters who lives in Israel, shared a wealth of information about the family. She explained that her grandmother left Vienna with one of her mother’s sisters. They were in Germany during Kristallnacht but managed to reach England before the outbreak of World War II. There she worked as a kindergarten teacher, got married and raised a family. One of the Neuwirth family’s neighbors in Vienna kept some family photos and a Kiddush cup that David Dov received as a gift for his Bar Mitzvah. These items are in the hands of the family today.

This amazing story made its way within hours from Jerusalem to London to New York and back. Rabbi Shabtai Schonfeld’s granddaughter made contact and added even more information. It was Rabbi Schonfeld who gave the Mesilat Yesharim book to David Dov in 1936. The Schonfeld and Neuwirth families were good friends in Vienna. David Dov was the same age as Rabbi Schonfeld’s son who later became a well-known rabbi in Queens, New York.

The Schonfeld family left Vienna on their own immediately after the Anschluss. Before leaving the country, all Jews were required to fill out an immigration questionnaire that included family details, names, ages, occupations, immigration destination and vocational training. The Neuwirth family’s forms are in the Central Archives for the History of the Jewish People at the National Library of Israel. This is where a large part of the archives of the Vienna community is preserved today.

The immigration questionnaire, the Central Archives for the History of the Jewish People, the National Library of Israel

Why then did the Neuwirth family fail to leave Austria in time?

Devorah provided the answer. David Dov was ill with polio. The family sought to immigrate to the U.S., but this depended on passing a medical examination. The U.S. Embassy in Austria apparently did not allow David Dov to immigrate and his family remained in Vienna. David Dov’s father, Rabbi Simcha Shmuel Neuwirth was a community rabbi and principal of a Jewish school in Vienna. He decided not to abandon his congregation and so most of the family died as martyrs al Kiddush Hashem.

The monument in Maly Trostenets, commemorating Austrian  victims of the Holocaust

The family story was preserved by David Dov’s sister Ilse in London, and now with the help of the Mesilat Yesharim book, it is being told and preserved by the National Library of Israel as well.

“Your rabbi was taken as a hostage”: Accounts of Russian Tactics in WWI

Hostage-taking and forced migration were just two methods used by Russian forces in Ukraine and Poland a century ago

Jewish burial near the Galician theater of war, 1915 (Public domain)

Following Russian advances into portions of Ukraine and Poland in 1914, stories of atrocities quickly spread throughout Europe and beyond. At first, the accounts from Jewish communities were almost too horrific to believe: Packs of Russian Cossack and Chechen soldiers stealing whatever they liked, raping women and girls in the streets in front of their families, cutting off limbs for sport, even crucifying men who dared to speak out against their beastly acts. Others were hung by their tefillin.

The veracity of the stories was sometimes questioned, especially, for example, when promulgated by Ukrainian nationalist elements, though the sheer number of reports and diversity of sources soon dispelled any doubt that war crimes were being committed.

“Wild Charge of The Most-Feared Troops in the Army of the Czar, The Cossacks” photo published in the Evening Public Ledger, March 1, 1915 (Library of Congress / Public domain). Click image to enlarge

In many cases, Russian authorities opted for hostage-taking instead of murder or forced expulsion. They would identify and detain prominent Jews from each community – rabbis, businessmen, civic leaders – and then warn the local community that the hostages would be killed should any acts deemed disloyal be committed.

“Your rabbi was taken as a hostage. If we hear again that Jews have talked to Germans the rabbi will be hanged,” a resident of the Polish town of Myszyniec (“Mishenitz” in Yiddish) recalled being told. Just two days later, the orders changed and all of the Jewish residents of the town were forcibly expelled, with only about half a dozen Jews, including a few over the age of 90, staying behind. In many cases such decisions were made at the field commander level, yet patterns and similar methods were certainly seen throughout the conflict zone.

When the Russians conquered Czernowitz (“Chernivtsi” in Ukrainian), the capital of Bukovina, they demanded that the Jewish mayor, Dr. Salo Weisselberger, hand over prominent citizens to be held hostage. Weisselberger reportedly refused, saying that he had no control over anyone but himself. He was subsequently sent to Siberia where he remained even after Austro-Hungarian forces recaptured the city, though he ultimately returned home following a prisoner exchange and was knighted by Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph.

Main Street, Czernowitz, 1903. From The Joseph and Margit Hoffman Judaica Postcard Collection; available via the National Library of Israel Digital Collection
Czernowitz during the 1917 visit of Emperor Franz Joseph’s successor, Karl I (Austrian National Library / Public domain)

Bukovina and neighboring Galicia – multi-ethnic regions that straddle today’s Ukrainian, Polish and Romanian borderlands – saw especially fierce fighting during the war. Hotbeds of Ukrainian culture and education, Ukrainians in these areas were accused by the Austro-Hungarians of being pro-Russian, while the Russians cracked down on local Ukrainian nationalists by mean of imprisonment, expulsion and murder.

Meanwhile, deep-seeded antisemitism, mistrust and geopolitical interests, ensured that accusations of treason and disloyalty against Jews persisted across Europe. The realities of Jewish life and loyalties at the time, though, were far from clear or predictable. Jews, in fact, served and sacrificed on all sides, despite such allegations. The Russian, Austrian and American armies each had hundreds of thousands of Jews among their ranks, not to mention the numerous other nations engaged in the conflict.

German Jewish soldiers and their families, 1914. From The Joseph and Margit Hoffman Judaica Postcard Collection; available via the National Library of Israel Digital Collection

Nevertheless, the Jewish civilian population suffered greatly, especially at the hands of Russian commanders who often expelled Jews from the towns and cities they called home simply because of their communal affiliation. They were generally forbidden from bringing their possessions with them into forced exile. With no truly comprehensive statistics available, scholars estimate that during the course of the war, between half a million and one million Jews in the Russian Empire were forcibly expelled from their homes. Scholar Jonathan Frankel has even estimated that some 1,000,000 Jews were already expelled by the end of 1915.

In an excerpted letter published early that year, one exile from the town of Skierniewice recalled his personal experience:

“We were not even permitted to leave behind us the sick and the women in childbirth. Only the Jewish bakers, blacksmiths and a few contractors were allowed to remain. But they did not care to stay and prepared to leave with the rest of us…

The Poles did not even wait for the Jews to leave town before they started plundering our homes and shops. They met with no resistance. The Jews, of course, were powerless…

It was the Sabbath, but the rabbis declared it lawful to set the children, the feeble old men and the women in childbirth on wagons, which we hired at unheard of prices. We took the scrolls of the law in our hands and, amid savage cries of the Poles and the soldiers, we left the town in silence and despair… Even the children cried with us…

The worst part of our experience was, however, that all along the way we were continually joined by ever new hosts of Jews who were even more destitute than we. The livelong day we dragged ourselves along the hard, rutty roads. Besides us moved long lines of Russian soldiers. They were coming to ‘redeem’ the land from the hands of the enemy and it was these redeemers who inflicted upon us the most excruciating woes. Wherever the Russian troops went they were accompanied by a crowd of Poles, men and women and children, who would point at us and shout: ‘There go the traitors!’… ‘Go to Palestine, you accursed Jews!’ the Poles and the soldiers would taunt us…”

A report published later in 1915 described forced expulsions deep into Russian territory as far as the Ural Mountains and Siberia as “an awful picture of the most abject misery”. Train cars packed mostly with Ukrainian Jews, Lithuanians and “other inhabitants of the war zone,” were “filled beyond their capacity… the people are heaped indiscriminately in piles, old men and women, children, sick people, all of them worn out and exhausted by a long journey lacking all human comfort… all of these people are in rags…”

The reporter further described the prisoners as “hav[ing] been shipped like merchandise or worse, like cattle. They are numbered and each one carries his bill of lading. They are not human beings they are treated like a shipment of freight.”

This heap of humanity had been traveling for weeks, having no idea where to go. “It matters little where we are sent to, as long as it only brings us nearer to death,” one of the prisoners bemoaned.

Jewish refugees from Poland head towards safety across the Austrian border, October 6, 1915 (Library of Congress / Public domain)

While many of their brethren were sent eastward, thousands of Jewish refugees descended upon major cities across Europe. Just a few months into the war, the Vienna Jewish community, for example, was already feeding kosher meals to some 8,000 refugees each day. In Warsaw, thousands arrived daily, packing communal institutions. Hundreds of people, mostly women and children, even slept in the Zamir literary club, founded and headed by legendary Yiddish author Y.L. Peretz, who cared for them personally. Wall-to-wall beds stuffed the club’s main hall, which looked like an “ant colony that had been destroyed,” according to S. Ansky, the famous scholar and author of The Dybbuk, in his book The Destruction of the Jews of Poland, Galicia and Bukovina. The refugees had come “mostly by foot, robbed, naked, starving, faded by fear and helplessness,” Ansky recalled.

According to historian Peter Gatrell, “for decades the only publication of note in Russian relating to population displacement in the era of the First World War was a brief and tantalising encyclopedia entry on ‘refugeedom’ by Abram Kirzhnits in the first edition of the Soviet historical encyclopedia.”

Kirzhnits termed concerted Russian efforts to massively displace diverse civilian populations a ‘bacchanalia of forced migration’. While “Jews in particular suffered from widespread antisemitism,” according to Gatrell, the forced migrations “ensnared Poles, Jews, Latvians, Lithuanians, Belarusians and Ukrainians… targeted on account of their presumed disloyalty to the empire.”

This “bacchanalia of forced migration” deeply impacted 20th century history, while its effects – and causes – continue to echo in Ukraine and well beyond its borders.


This article has been published as part of Gesher L’Europa, the National Library of Israel’s initiative to connect with people, institutions and communities across Europe and beyond, through storytelling, knowledge sharing and community engagement.

In the Shadow of War: When Stan Lee and Dr. Seuss Battled Fascism

After serving together in the US Army's Training Film Division during World War II, the two parted ways: Stan Lee went on to create immortal superheroes, and Dr. Seuss used his talents to try to atone for his anti-Japanese propaganda through a new and compassionate children’s book

Stan Lee (left) and Dr. Seuss (right) during their WWII army service

With the world at war in the early 1940s, Stan Lee, of Marvel Comics fame, wound up in the US Army’s Training Film Division almost by chance, after the military found out that he could both  draw comics and write scripts. When Lee showed up at the unit, he encountered the beloved children’s author Theodore Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, though he wasn’t actually a medical doctor at all. We will tell you all about this World War II-era story, but let’s begin a few years earlier…

Stan Lee (1922–2018), who would come to personify the American comic book industry, started out in the field in 1939 at Timely Comics. His initial connection with the company was through his cousin, who was married to the firm’s publisher. Throughout his life, Lee testified repeatedly that he never really wanted to work there in the first place. This Jewish-American comic book icon had dreams of writing the next “Great American Novel” that would immortalize his name in the pantheon of world literature. In fact, Stan had given himself the penname “Stan Lee”, reserving his real name, Stanley Lieber, for that great and elusive masterpiece he would one day write, when he was finally able to give up his tedious work creating comic books. Ultimately, Lee’s name did enter the global pantheon, but in a slightly different category than he had anticipated.

The Fantastic Four, Marvel Comics, created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby

On his first day at Timely Comics, Lee met two other giants of the American comic book world: Jack Kirby and Joe Simon. His first credit under his new penname Stan Lee appeared in issue #3 of Captain America. When Kirby and Simon left in 1941, the 19-year-old Lee was appointed “temporary” editor, a position he would continue to fill (“temporarily”, of course) for decades to come, that is, until his promotion to publisher. The Marvel Comics brand was established in the early 1960s as part of his decision to remain in the field and at last give up his literary dream.

Just as Lee’s career in the world of comics was taking off in New York, war was raging in Europe. In 1942, Lee was drafted into the US Army. At first, he was slated to serve overseas in the Signal Corps, but the Army very quickly recognized the new soldier’s writing talents and assigned him to the rare position of screenwriter. Lee would later claim that he and only eight others were assigned to this coveted position during the war. He was sent to the army’s Training Film Division unit, where Lee met some great talents, among them the director Frank Capra and the illustrator Theodor Geisel, a.k.a. Dr. Seuss.

In his new role, Lee was tasked with writing scripts for films intended to raise the morale of combat troops, propaganda posters for the American public, and from time to time even propaganda comics. It was at this stage that Lee’s commitment, both to the comic book profession that was almost foisted on him as well as to the position he was appointed to at such a young age, was seriously challenged for the first time. Despite being far away from the Timely Comics office in New York, he kept up a weekly correspondence with the staff, suggesting ideas for comics, and reviewing and correcting scripts. His commitment stood the test.

After the war, Lee returned to his job as a comic book editor. In the 1950s, he experienced a professional crisis, becoming dissatisfied with his own work and the traditional limitations of the genre. But in the 1960s, with the encouragement of his wife, Lee decided on a radical change – he would finally make the comic books he had always wanted to make, as a last ditch effort, with nothing to lose, before handing in his letter of resignation. He envisioned a different kind of superhero – imperfect, troubled, human.

The comic book he created, together with illustrator Jack Kirby, was “The Fantastic Four.” Together, Kirby and Lee created the great pantheon of Marvel Comics superheroes: the Hulk, X-Men, Iron Man, Doctor Strange, and more. Oh, and of course their most familiar and beloved character, the amazing Spider-Man. When Lee passed away in 2018 at the age of 95, the US Army was among those who paid tribute to this great American artist, for his contributions during wartime and later on in life.

We turn now to Dr. Seuss, Lee’s cohort in the Training Film Division, who underwent a profound change of conscience following World War II.

Like Stan Lee, the writer and illustrator Theodor Geisel (1904–1991) adopted a penname under which he published his stories for children, with the intention of one day writing a great adult literary work under his real name. The alias combined his mother’s maiden name, Seuss, with the title of Doctor – a reference to his doctoral studies at Oxford, which he left in order to focus on writing. Throughout the 1920s, he worked for various magazines, before shifting to writing books of children’s poems and accompanying them with illustrations. It was at this point that history knocked on the door, and Dr. Seuss answered.

After publishing his first successful children’s book, Horton Hatches the Egg in 1940, he took a forced break from writing for children. This pause lasted for seven years, during which time he created hundreds of caricatures depicting the brutality of Hitler and Mussolini. He lent his pen to the struggle against fascism while also criticizing isolationist political tendencies within American society. He did not preach war, but sensed its coming and believed that America had a duty to protect and save the world from murderous fascism.

With the United States’ entry into World War II, the American military sought to exploit these talents for its own needs. In the service of the war effort, Dr. Seuss moved to Los Angeles. There, Hollywood film director Frank Capra teamed up Dr. Seuss with animator Chuck Jones—the legendary creator of Bugs Bunny and Duffy Duck—and the two composed a series of animated propaganda films for American soldiers. Among other things, the two produced a series of animated shorts about “Private Snafu”, a soldier who does just about everything wrong. Later on, Dr. Suess came under sharp criticism for the anti-Japanese propaganda posters he created during the war.

A racist wartime propaganda poster illustrated by Dr. Seuss, showing Japanese Americans as a fifth column trying to destroy America from within

Looking at the books today, it is difficult to connect the racist posters with the compassionate children’s book author. During the war, Dr. Seuss rejected any personal criticism, claiming at the time – “If we want to win, we’ve got to kill Japs”. After the war, he had a complete change of heart, and this led to the creation of one of his most beloved books.

In 1953, Life Magazine invited Dr. Seuss to visit Japan in order to write about the effects of the war on Japanese children. Accompanied by the Dean of Doshisha University in Kyoto, the beloved children’s illustrator and author traveled around Japan and met with the country’s children. He asked the children to draw what they wanted to be when they grew up. These drawings made a great impact on him and when he returned to the U.S., he expressed his deep regret for the biased image of the Japanese he had helped to instill during the war.

He chose to express this remorse in the best way he knew: an illustrated book titled Horton Hears a Who!, which tells the story of Horton the elephant, who attempts to save the tiny town of Whoville, which rests on a speck of dust. As in his previous book on Horton, the elephant’s efforts encounter slander and giggles from his animal friends. When some of them attempt to harm Whoville, Horton and the mayor band together to rescue it. The book contains subtle hints and references to World War II.  The most notable example is the black-bottomed eagle that drops the tiny of town of Whoville from the sky —a clear allusion to the two atomic bombs dropped by the United States on Japan.

The original cover of Horton Hears a Who!


Dr. Seuss’s humanistic spirit is expressed in the most famous sentence from the book: “A person’s a person, no matter how small.”

The book was adapted for the cinema a number of times and is still considered one of Dr. Seuss’s most loved and well-known books. Dr. Seuss himself is still one of the most beloved and popular children’s authors in the world. His books offer a combination of humor, intelligence, and love for humankind. At a time when artists and creators are (rightly) judged for their ideas and actions, the case of Dr. Seuss and his treatment of the Japanese reminds us that – a person’s a person — and a writer’s character is sometimes more complex than that which is portrayed to their readers through their books. So, the next time you read Dr. Seuss, remember that change can happen only when we want it to. While fear can lead to hatred, the way to overcome it is through love, compassion, and understanding of those who are different from you.