Nathan Kaufman – Germany Must Perish!

Germany Must Perish! is the title of a 104-page book written by Nathan Kaufman and self-published in 1941, during the Holocaust, which advocates the genocide, through sterilization of all Germans, and the territorial dismemberment of Germany.

Nathan Kaufman founded the Argyle Press of Newark, New Jersey, USA, in order to self-publish his racist sentiments.
The book was most notably used by Nazi Germany as propaganda to allege that “the Jews” were plotting against the country.

In the words of the 1945 Journal of Modern History, the book was intended to be “little more than self-indulgence in dire vituperation by a man who sees Germany as the sole cause of the world’s woes.”

Nathan Kaufman - Germany must Perish!

Nathan Kaufman – Germany must Perish!

Reactions to Germany Must Perish

An advertisement in the New York Times, stated that the book was released to the public on March 1, 1941. Nathan Kaufman also promoted the book by mailing a miniature black cardboard coffin with a hinged lid to reviewers. Inside the coffin was a card proclaiming,

“Read GERMANY MUST PERISH! Tomorrow you will receive your copy.”

Perhaps as a result, despite being written and self-published by a non-notable author, the book received some attention, including from Time magazine, which published a review. The unnamed Time reviewer compared the book to Jonathan Swift’s A Modest Proposal, noting that, unlike Swift, Nathan Kaufman’s work was not satirical. According to philosophy professor Berel Lang, American reviews “reflected an odd combination of straight reporting and skepticism.”

Nathan Kaufman’s second and more moderate pamphlet, “No More German Wars” published in 1942, was ignored both in the U.S. and in Germany.

The back of the book’s dust jacket contains excerpts from reviews of the book. One blurb reads, A Plan For Permanent Peace Among Civilized Nations! — New York Times. Nathan Kaufman advocated the mass forced sterilization of the entire German people and the territorial dismemberment of Germany after an Allied victory in World War II.

Nathan Kaufman summarized Germany Must Perish! in the New York Times and New York Post advertisements as:

“A dynamic volume outlining a plan for the extinction of Germany and containing a map showing possible dissection and apportionment of its territory.”

An interview with Nathan Kaufman in which he attempts to justify his plan for “sterilization of all Germans” appears in The Canadian Jewish Chronicle in its September 26, 1941 issue, in which Kaufman stated:.

“I believe, that the Jews have a mission in life. They must see to it that the nations of the world get together in one vast federation. ‘Union Now’ is the beginning of this. Slowly but surely the world will develop into a paradise. We will have perpetual peace. And the Jews will do the most to bring about this confederation, because they have the most to gain. But how can you get peace if Germany exists? The only way to win an eternal peace is to make the punishment of waging war more horrible than war itself. Human beings are penalized for murder, aren’t they? Well, Germany starts all the wars of magnitude. Let us sterilize all Germans and wars of world domination will come to an end!”

At the time that Germany Must Perish! was first published in early 1941, Germany had not yet occupied the Balkans. The German invasion of the USSR would occur in June (although the Germans had already invaded and reconquered the land, theirs before World War I, that had been given to form Poland, and had annexed Austria), and the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor was still nine months away.

However, the Nuremberg Laws were passed in 1935 and the T-4 Euthanasia Program ran from September 1939 until August 1941. The Wannsee Conference was more than a year in the future and stories of genocide by the Nazi Party were neither widely known nor believed.

The book soon came to the attention of the Nazis. It was – and still is – widely quoted as advocating genocide by a Jewish conspiracy against the German people.

“Few Americans have ever heard of a prominent fellow-citizen named Kaufmann … In Germany every child has known of him for a long time. Germans are so well informed about Mr. Kaufmann that the mere mention of his name recalls what he stands for. In one of his recent articles Dr. Goebbels wrote, ‘Thanks to the Jew Nathan Kaufman, we Germans know only too well what to expect in case of defeat.’ “

Nathan Kaufman was a Manhattan-born Jew, so his advocacy of such an idea attracted great attention.

Nazi propaganda denounced the book as an “orgy of Jewish hatred” and accused President Franklin D. Roosevelt of having inspired it. Additionally, Germany Must Perish! coincided with other Nazi proclamations about “Anglo-American” intentions, which the German population digested in the midst of ongoing economic sanctions against their country, Roosevelt’s Lend Lease program and the widely reported failure of the United States to sponsor negotiations after Poland’s defeat. American journalist Howard K. Smith was in Germany when Germany Must Perish! came to light. He wrote:

“No man has ever done so irresponsible a disservice to the cause his nation is fighting and suffering for than Nathan Kaufmann [sic]. His half-baked brochure provided the Nazis with one of the best light artillery pieces they have, for, used as the Nazis used it, it served to bolster up that terror which forces Germans who dislike the Nazis to support, fight and die to keep Nazism alive …”

When the Jews of Hanover were forced from their homes on September 8, 1941, German authorities cited Nathan Kaufman’s book as one of the reasons.

Nathan Kaufman responded:

“This is just a flimsy pretext for another of the innate cruelties of the German people … I don’t think it was my book that prompted this barbarity. They employed every possible German cruelty against the Jews long before my book was published”.

It featured in many pieces of Nazi propaganda. The Parole der Woche’s weekly wall newspaper included it as evidence that the Allies’ war aims were the destruction of Germany. The pamphlet “The War Goal of World Plutocracy” detailed the contents of the book, although with some omissions from the text it quoted. Its last major use was in a late 1944 pamphlet, “Never!”

The controversial German nationalist philosopher and historian Ernst Nolte argues that the German reaction to Germany Must Perish! supports his contention that the Holocaust was a reasonable, if excessive, response to German fears of worldwide Jewish plot. In answer to this claim, it has been pointed out that while the book was a welcome piece of propaganda, its actual impact on Nazi genocide policies was not notable, and that Nolte regards the radical views of a single American Jew as representative of all Jewish people worldwide.

Ernest Hemingway would adopt the same ideas in his introduction to his anthology Men at War.  Writing:

“When this war is won, though, Germany should be so effectively destroyed that we should not have to fight her again for a hundred years, or, if it is done well enough, forever.

This can probably only be done by sterilization. This act can be accomplished by an operation little more painful than vaccination and as easily made compulsory. All members of Nazi party organizations should be submitted to it if we are ever to have a peace that is to be anything more than a breathing space between wars. . . . It is not wise to advocate sterilization now as a government or allied policy since it can only cause increased resistance. So I do not advocate it. I oppose it. But it is the only ultimate settlement.”


^ “The Battle wih the Devil”
^ a b “Jews of Hanover Forced from Homes. Mayor Cites American Book, ‘Germany Must Perish'”. New York Times. September 9, 1941. Retrieved 2011-04-19.
^ What They Would Do about Germany, Donald F. Lach, The Journal of Modern History, Vol. 17, No. 3. (Sep., 1945), pp. 227-243.
^ a b “A Modest Proposal”. Time magazine. March 24, 1941. Retrieved 2011-04-19. “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 sterilize them. …”
^ Anonymous. Advertisement for Germany Must Perish!. New York Times. 1 March 1941. p. 13.
^ a b “A Modest Proposal (Books).”
^ a b Lang, Berel. Philosophical witnessing: the Holocaust as presence, University Press of New England, 2009, pp. 130–131
^ Berel Lang, “Philosophical witnessing: the Holocaust as presence”, UPNE, 2009, p.135
^ Anonymous. “Latest Books Received.” New York Times. March 16, 1941. p. BR29.
^ New York Post, Friday, February 28, 1941, p.22.
^ Advertisement for Germany Must Perish!.
^ Harold U. Ribalow (September 26, 1941). “Hitler Will Be Nothing But A Rosebud Says Author ‘Germany Must Perish!’. One Man’s Plan For Peace Forever”. The Canadian Jewish Chronicle. p. 5. Retrieved 2011-12-04.
^ See Nazi and Holocaust Denial Propaganda links below.
^ a b Argus[disambiguation needed] (1944). “Behind Enemy Lines”. The Nation. p. 510. Retrieved 2011-04-19.
^ Anonymous. “Nazis Attack Roosevelt.” New York Times. July 24, 1941. p. 8.
^ Howard K. Smith. Last Train from Berlin. London: Phoenix Pr., 1942, 2000. p. 134
^ “Hanover Jews Victims of Latest Oppression”. Associated Press. September 9, 1941. Retrieved 2011-04-20.
^ “Parole der Woche”
^ “War Aims of World Plutocracy”
^ “Never!”
^ Nolte, Ernst “Between Myth and Revisionism” pages 17-38 from Aspects of the Third Reich, edited by H.W. Koch, New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1985 pages 27-28.
^ Pierre Vidal-Naquet Assassins of Memory Essays on the Denial of the Holocaust, New York: Columbia University Press, 1992, ISBN 0-231-07458-1
^ Men at War: The Best War Stories of all Time (1942). Ernest Hemingway. New York, Crown Publishers. Pages XXIII – XXIV: A
Further reading

Bytwerk, Randall L. “The Argument for Genocide in Nazi Propaganda,” Quarterly Journal of Speech, 91 (2005), 37-62.
Herf, Jeffrey The Jewish Enemy: Nazi Propaganda During World War II and the Holocaust”, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2006, see especially pages 110-115.

External links

  • Germany Must Perish!
  • Nazi propaganda about Germany Must Perish!: (from Calvin College’s German Propaganda Archive)
  • “The Battle with the Devil: Pan-Jewry Reveals its Destructive Plan.” A September 1941 article from Julius Streicher’s Der Stürmer which quotes extensively from Germany Must Perish!
  • “The War Goal of World Plutocracy” A September 1941 pamphlet by Wolfgang Diewerge.
  • “When you see this symbol…” Cover illustration and excerpts from a November 1941 flyer.
  • “Never! A late 1944 pamphlet by Heinrich Goitsch.
  • Other external links:
  • The full text of the book from wikisource,
  • review from Time magazine’s 1941 of Germany Must Perish! at the web site of The Nizkor Project.

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