A California university has decided to rename a library building named after a former librarian who held antisemitic and pro-Nazi views.
The Board of Trustees at the California State University in Fresno voted to remove the name of the long-serving former librarian, Henry Miller Madden, based on statements found in his personal papers.
Upon visiting New York City in 1934, Mr Madden wrote in a letter to his mother that “I spent a good twenty minutes walking, looking all the time for an honest gentile face, and I don’t think I saw one. And such Jews! Noisy, dirty, smelly, ugly – Jews such as you have never seen before, absolutely different from S.F. Jews.”
In a letter to a friend, Mr Madden wrote: “The Jews: I am developing a violent and almost uncontrollable phobia against them. Whenever I see one of those predatory noses, or those roving and leering eyes, or those slobbering lips, or those flat feet, or those nasal and whiny voices I tremble with rage and hatred.”
On another occasion, Mr Madden wrote of his fantasies about driving Jews “barefoot to some remote spot in Texas” to camps “closed in by electrically charged barbed wire.”
The University President, Saúl Jiménez-Sandoval, said that a task force looked into the 53 boxes of material that Madden donated to the library in 1980 with the aim of looking at “the trajectory of his thoughts, whether later in life he had come to some sort of reckoning and displayed remorse or regret over the views that he held in his 20s or 30s. What we found is that there was really no evidence that he renounced the views at all.”
A University Media Professor, Bradley Hart, who conducted research into Henry Miller Madden for his book Hitler’s American Friends, wrote that “This is a great moment for Fresno State. Today we have rectified a historic wrong.”
Campaign Against Antisemitism reports on news and incidents relating to antisemitism throughout the United States.