CHICAGO (Aug. 21)
Officials of the Chicago Association of Commerce and Industry said today that a book on the Nazi wartime slaughter of Jews in occupied Poland had been withdrawn from sale at the McCormack Place Trade Fair because it was “highly controversial.”
The book, “Martyrdom, Struggle and Annihilation of Jews in Poland 1939-45,” published and distributed by a Polish firm, disappeared from fair shelves on the sixth day of the trade show. Larry Gordon, a wholesale book dealer, noted the absence of the book and asked why it had been withdrawn. He was told it was “provocative.”
Bert Prall, a spokesman for the association and a director of World Market Merchandising, told the Sentinel, an English-Jewish publication here, that it was “our business what we choose or choose not to sell. That book was highly controversial. We serve all nations here.” When he was asked what was controversial about a documented history, he said he had said “all I intend to say on the subject.”
He added, however, that he was not aware that the book concerned Jews, despite the title. He said he had made his decision after looking at some of the pictures in the volume and that he was not concerned about a negative reaction of the Chicago Jewish community to the ban.
Another director, Ralph Bergsten, cited the fair’s motto, “World Peace Through World Trade,” and said “our sole purpose is to promote trade. We don’t want to stir up old stories or political propaganda.” He added that a “number” of persons had objected to the fair’s sale of the book but that he could not remember who they were.