ADL CALLS DICTIONARY'S ADDED DEFINITION OF "NAZI"
OFFENSIVE URGES RANDOM HOUSE TO "RETHINK YOUR DECISION"
New York, NY, January 13, 1997...The Anti-Defamation League said it was
astounded and offended by the decision to add an extended "definition
to the word Nazi in the next edition of Random House Webster's College Dictionary,
and urged the publisher to "rethink your decision." The added
definition will be, "a person who is fanatically dedicated to or seeks
to control a specified activity, practice, etc."
In a letter to Jessie T. Shiedlower, an editor in the Random House Dictionary
Department, Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director wrote, "In an
age when almost nothing shocks or surprises, the decision of the editors
of Random House Webster's College Dictionary to 'add a new sense of the
word' Nazi to American vocabularies in its new edition is both astonishing
Mr. Foxman said the new definition of Nazi "as some kind of control
freak" is offensive on several levels. "The definition trivializes
and denies the murderous intent and actions of the Nazi regime...it also
cheapens the language by allowing people to reach for a quick word fix..."
The ADL leader said the new definition "lend[s] a helping hand to
those whose aim is to prove that the Nazis were really not such terrible
people. If someone can be a 'soup Nazi' or a 'traffic Nazi,' how bad could
the real Nazis have been?"
Mr. Foxman suggested it was the role of the editors, as language experts
to inform the public that there should not be a "jocular" usage
of the word Nazi.
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.