Boston-based publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt has decided to donate proceeds from Mein Kampf, Adolf Hitler's infamous manifesto, to a local organization that works with aging Holocaust survivors, the AP reports. The move comes after HMH was criticized by Jewish advocates for its plans to donate proceeds and royalties from the book to Boston-area cultural organizations and not necessarily to those that combat anti-Semitism. Following the backlash, HMH partnered with Boston-based Combined Jewish Philanthropies to determine "how best to provide aid directly to the victims of the horrific events of the Holocaust," the publisher's director of corporate social responsibility said in a statement. Moving forward, the proceeds from Mein Kampf will be donated to Jewish Family & Children's Service of Greater Boston for "direct support of the health and human services needs of [Holocaust] survivors," he said.
HMH has published a version of the book continuously since 1933. During World War II, proceeds were directed to the US Justice Department. In 1979, the publishing firm reclaimed its royalty rights and kept the book's proceeds for itself until 2000, when it began donating the funds to combat anti-Semitism, per the Boston Globe. Last year it announced it was going to widen the scope to include other cultural organizations, which caused Jewish advocates to speak out. "JF&CS will direct the grant money exclusively to support the needs of ... Holocaust survivors," CEO Rimma Zelfand said in a statement. "As Holocaust survivors grow increasingly frail, many of our clients have a far greater need for care than is covered by our existing funding." The director for the New England branch of the Anti-Defamation League says this is "a reminder that efforts need to be put into combating anti-Semitism, educating the next generation about the Holocaust and, of course, supporting the victims." HMH declined to provide the annual proceeds generated from the book. (Read more Mein Kampf stories.)