Not a Supporter

In response to:

The Hitler Addiction from the July 17, 1980 issue

To the Editors:

It would have been interesting if Alan Bullock in connection with his discussion of Sebastian Haffner’s book on Hitler [NYR, July 17] had commented on an incident that took place last year. Haffner was awarded a Heine Prize by the city of Düsseldorf, whereupon a noisy and effective international campaign of protest was organized by a group that had originally been formed several years ago to urge the naming of the University of Düsseldorf after Heine. Passages were taken out of context to make it appear that Haffner, a well-known democratic journalist who spent the war years in English exile, was supportive of Hitler and of war. A number of names, including my own, were attached to this campaign without permission. I suspect the underlying motivation may have been that Haffner does not hold with the orthodox Marxist view of the nature of Nazism. I think events like this in German intellectual life are not insignificant, and it would be helpful if historians of Professor Bullock’s experience and insight would give them some attention from time to time.

Jeffrey L. Sammons

Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut