Theodore N. Kaufman

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Theodore Newman Kaufman
Theodore Newman Kaufman circa 1940.png
Kaufman in 1941
Born (1911-10-20)October 20, 1911
New York City, United States
Died April 1, 1986(1986-04-01) (aged 76)
East Orange, New Jersey, United States
Nationality American
Other names Theodore Nathan Kaufmann
Occupation Businessman and writer
Known for Germany Must Perish!
Parents Anton Kaufman and Fannie Newman

Theodore Newman Kaufman (February 22, 1910 – April 1, 1986), sometimes wrongly given as Theodore Nathan Kaufmann,[1] was an American Jewish businessman and writer.

In 1939, he published pamphlets as chairman of the American Federation of Peace that argued that America should not fight in foreign wars.[2][3][4] In 1941, he wrote and published Germany Must Perish! which called for the sterilization of the German people and the distribution of the German lands.[5] The text was used extensively in Nazi propaganda, often as a justification for the persecution of Jews and was specifically cited as an excuse to round up the Jews of Hanover, Germany.[6][7]

Early life[edit]

He was born in Manhattan, New York City on February 22, 1910 to Anton Kaufman and Fannie Newman. His parents had married on March 14, 1909.[8] His father had been a reporter for the Berliner Morgen-Zeitung in Berlin, Germany before emigrating to the United States in 1905.[9] Theodore's three brothers were Herbert, Julian, and Leonard.[10]

He attended South Side High School in Newark, New Jersey and graduated around 1928.[11]

In 1934 he was arrested along with his father, Anton Kaufman, for the robbery of Sandor Alexander Balint of Budapest. Balint had developed a process to speed the aging of wine. The Kaufmans had purchased this formula from Balint, but later came to believe that the formula was "worthless".[12][13] Theodore Kaufman's mother died in 1939.[10]

Kaufman traveled to the Sahara Desert and wrote: "you look at the horizon all day long and feel that you are staring at eternity." In Biskra he met Clare Frewen Sheridan.[4]

Kaufman became the owner of a small advertising agency and ticket agency in South Orange, New Jersey.[4] He published the New Jersey Legal Record.[4] Kaufman founded the Argyle Press of Newark, New Jersey to publish his political pamphlets.[4]

Life during World War II[edit]

Kaufman was a radical pacifist intent on preventing American involvement in future wars in Europe.[14] In 1939, under the auspices of the "American Federation of Peace", an unknown entity of which he was the president and probably only member,[15] Kaufman produced several publications. One pamphlet, titled "Passive Purchase" advocated the establishment of a two-week period during which Americans would curtail their spending in order to demonstrate public opposition to American intervention in European conflicts. In a section of the pamphlet on the American Federation of Peace's beliefs, Kaufman advocated for "the strongest possible military defense of the United States" and stated that "by keeping absolutely aloof from foreign wars and entanglements the American People face a truly great future."[14] That same year, the group also issued publications with more contentious messages, one of which read:

"A possible plea to Congress. ... Have Us All Sterilized! ... If You Plan On Sending Us To A Foreign War ... Spare Us Any Possibility Of Ever Bringing Children Into This World — Into This Country Of Ours!"[2]
Map showing Kaufman's proposed dismemberment of Germany (and Austria).

Two years later he shifted his focus to the forced mass-sterilization of all German men under 65 and the sterilization of most German women under 45. This would eliminate "inbred Germanism," he proposed, thus solving a great deal of humanity's problems. He also promoted the distribution of Germany's lands among the neighboring countries. His effort was spearheaded by the self-publication of the book Germany Must Perish![4]

"Since Germans are the perennial disturbers of the world's peace ... 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. The army groups, as organized units, would be the easiest and quickest to deal with. ... The population of Germany, excluding conquered and annexed territories, is about 70,000,000, almost equally divided between male and female. To achieve the purpose of German extinction it would be necessary to only sterilize some 48,000,000 -- a figure which excludes, because of their limited power to procreate, males over 60 years of age, and females over 45. ... 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 could 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 could be sterilized within a period of three years or less. Complete sterilization of both sexes, and not only one, is to be considered necessary in view of the present German doctrine that so much as one drop of true German blood constitutes a German. Of course, after complete sterilization, there will cease to be a birth rate in Germany. At the normal death rate of 2 per cent per annum, German life will diminish at the rate of 1,500,000 yearly. Accordingly in the span of two generations that which cost millions of lives and centuries of useless effort, namely, the elimination of Germanism and its carriers, will have been an accomplished fact. By virtue of its loss of self-perpetuation German Will will have atrophied and German power reduced to negligible importance."[5]

Although Kaufman's book had a minimal impact in the United States, it achieved notoriety in Nazi Germany, where propagandists used it as evidence of an international Jewish plan to destroy the German people. On July 24, 1941, the Nazi Party's newspaper, Volkischer Beobachter, published a front-page article on the book titled: "The Product of Criminal Jewish Sadism: Roosevelt Demands the Sterilization of the German People." The newspaper alleged that Kaufman was a close ally of Samuel Irving Rosenman, a well-known advisor to Franklin Delano Roosevelt and that: "Given the close relationship of the writer to the White House, this monstrous war program can be seen as a synthesis of genuine Talmudic hatred and Roosevelt’s views on foreign policy."[15] At the time, the German leadership was engaged in a propaganda campaign designed to rally popular support for the German invasion of the Soviet Union. Antisemitism in general, and Kaufman's ideas in particular, became a focus of this campaign.[16]

Nazi Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels read the book in early August and immediately grasped its value, writing in his diary: "This Jew did a real service for the enemy [German] side. Had he written this book for us, he could not have made it any better."[15] Under Goebbels' direction, Germany Must Perish! continued to receive significant media attention in Germany. Portions of the book were read on national radio, and Goebbels ordered the printing of five million copies of a pamphlet that summarized Kaufman's ideas.[citation needed]

Nazi propaganda often used Kaufman's pamphlet as a justification for the persecution of Jews. When the Nazis required German Jews to wear a yellow badge on their clothing on September 1, 1941, they published a flyer explaining to the German people that those individuals wearing the star were conspiring to implement Kaufman's plan for the destruction of Germany.[15] When the Jews of Hanover were forced from their homes on September 8, 1941, German authorities cited Kaufman's book as one of the reasons.[6][17] Kaufman responded by saying:

"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."[17]

The Nazi propaganda ministry continued to publish pamphlets, posters and flyers on Kaufman's ideas through the end of the war, and also urged newspapers and public speakers to remind Germans of Kaufman's book. Kaufman's last major appearance in Nazi propaganda occurred in late 1944, when a five-page section on him was included in the widely published booklet Never!, which described a number of alleged plots to destroy Germany.[15] Randall Bytwerk, an historian of communications at Calvin College, concluded that "[a] German at the time could not have missed encountering" propaganda about Kaufman.[15]

His final publication through Argyle Press was the March 1942 brochure titled "No More German Wars! Being an outline for their permanent cessation". It contained no more writing on the sterilization of Germans or discussion of German land distribution, but made very moderate proposals for democratic re-education of the German population.

He enlisted in the US Army in New Mexico on April 24, 1942.[18] His three brothers also served.

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 artlcles Dr. Goebbels wrote, "Thanks to the Jew Kaufmann, we Germans know only too well what to expect in case of defeat."[19]

The Nation, November 14, 1942

Post-war years and death[edit]

After World War II, Kaufman disappeared entirely from public life. One scholar, Berel Lang, a Visiting Professor of Philosophy and Letters at Wesleyan University, failed to locate Kaufman in the records of the city of Newark and in other sources.[20]

He died in April 1986 in East Orange, New Jersey.[21]

Writings[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Bytwerk, Randall (February 2005). "The Argument for Genocide in Nazi Propaganda". Quarterly Journal of Speech 91 (1): 58. doi:10.1080/00335630500157516. "Kaufman’s full name was Theodore Newman Kaufman. He published his book under the name Theodore N. Kaufman. The Nazis managed numerous variants of the spelling. The most interesting error was giving him the middle name ‘‘Nathan.’’ Sometimes, he became ‘‘Nathan Kaufmann.’’ The incorrect middle name was probably added to make the name sound more Jewish." 
  2. ^ a b "Slick Stuff". Time. October 23, 1939. Retrieved 2011-04-19. "To peaceful folk all over the U. S. last week went a series of curdling injunctions to keep America out of World War II. Black type, slick paper, photographs of horribly wounded and starved victims of war were the propaganda materials of the American Federation of Peace. ..." 
  3. ^ "Theodore N. Kaufman". Institute for Historical Review. 1995. Retrieved 2011-04-19. "Theodore N. Kaufman, a Manhattan-born Jewish businessman who was chairman of the "American Federation of Peace. ..." 
  4. ^ a b c d e f "A Modest Proposal". Time. March 24, 1941. Retrieved 2011-04-19. "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. ..." 
  5. ^ a b Theodore Newman Kaufman (1941). Germany Must Perish!. Argyle Press. 
  6. ^ a b "Jews of Hanover Forced from Homes. Mayor Cites American Book, 'Germany Must Perish'". The New York Times. September 9, 1941. Retrieved 2011-04-19. 
  7. ^ "A Modest Proposal". Time. March 24, 1941. Retrieved 2011-04-20. "Startled readers wondered whether the strange book was a landmark, the first appearance of the Streicher mind in the US. Few recognized the name of the author, Theodore N. Kaufman. But in 1939 it had appeared as chairman of the American Federation of Peace ..." 
  8. ^ "Mrs. Kaufman Services Today". Newark Sunday Call. February 19, 1939. Retrieved 2011-04-19. "... Mrs Kaufman was the wife of Anton Kaufman editor and publisher ... Mrs Kaufman leaves four sons Theodore Herbert Julian and Leonard." 
  9. ^ "Newark Publisher Is Killed In Fall. Anton Kaufman, Owner of Jewish Chronicle There, Plunges From Hotel Window". The New York Times. January 2, 1943. Retrieved 2011-04-19. "Anton Kaufman, blind publisher of The Newark Jewish Chronicle and one of the most prominent leaders in Jewish affairs in New Jersey, lost his life early today in a fall from his eighth-floor room in the Robert Treat Hotel, here." 
  10. ^ a b "Dr. Kaufman Killed in Eight Story Fall. Newark's Blind Jewish Publisher was Once a Reporter in Berlin.". Associated Press. January 2, 1943. Retrieved 2011-04-19. 
  11. ^ William B. Helmreich (1999). The Enduring Community. The Jews of Newark and Metrowest. Transaction Publishers. ISBN 1-56000-392-8. 
  12. ^ "3 Essex Deputy Sheriffs and Publisher and Son Accused of Robbing Hungarian". The New York Times. June 16, 1934. Retrieved 2011-04-19. "Five men, three of them court attendants at the Essex County Court House, were arrested today on charges of robbery preferred by Sandor Alexander Balint of Budapest, Hungary, in a dispute involving a supposed secret formula for maturing wines rapidly. ... Anton Kaufman, who is blind, was paroled, and his son was released in $2000 bail by Acting Judge Arthur Connelly in Police Court today for a hearing next ..." 
  13. ^ "Essex Deputy Sheriffs, Seized in Alleged Robbery, to Get a Hearing Friday". The New York Times. June 17, 1934. Retrieved 2011-04-19. "Three deputy sheriffs were arraigned here today in the First Criminal Court before Acting Judge Arthur Connolly. They are charged with aiding in the alleged robbery of Sandor Alexander Balint of Budapest, Hungary, possessor of a formula for aging wine quickly. Balint previously had brought about the arrest of Anton Kaufman, publisher of the Jewish Chronicle, and his son, Theodore. ..." 
  14. ^ a b Kaufman, Theodore (1939). Passive Purchase. Newark, NJ: American Federation of Peace. 
  15. ^ a b c d e f Bytwerk, Randall (February 2005). "The Argument for Genocide in Nazi Propaganda". Quarterly Journal of Speech 91 (1): 42–44. doi:10.1080/00335630500157516. 
  16. ^ Evans, Richard J. (2009). The Third Reich at War, 1939-1945. Penguin. pp. 244–245. ISBN 1-59420-206-0. "In the weeks following the invasion of the Soviet Union on 22 June 1941, the Nazi leadership thus thought it necessary to launch a propaganda offensive designed to win the retrospective approval of the German people. ...Much play was made in this campaign with a pamphlet by the American Theodore N. Kaufman" 
  17. ^ a b "Hanover Jews Victims of Latest Oppression". Associated Press. September 9, 1941. Retrieved 2011-04-20. 
  18. ^ Theodore N. Kaufman in the U.S. World War II Army Enlistment Records, 1938-1946.
  19. ^ Argus (November 14, 1942). "Behind Enemy Lines". The Nation 155 (20). p. 510. Retrieved 2011-04-19. 
  20. ^ Lang, Berel (Spring 2006). "The Jewish "Declaration of War" against the Nazis". Antioch Review 64 (2): 363, 372. JSTOR 4614991. 
  21. ^ Social Security Death Index

External links[edit]

  • Bytwerk, Randall. "German Propaganda Archive". Calvin College. Retrieved 12 July 2011.  Includes translations and images of several German propaganda publications that reference Kaufman.