The award-winning Holocaust book was banned in McMinn County for its foul language and graphic depictions of the genocide.
Knoxville, Tenn. – A Knoxville comic book store said Monday it has raised more than $83,000 after launching an initiative last week to give away free copies of Maus to students who want to learn about the Holocaust.
The book made national headlines for being banned from McMinn County schools after leaders said it contained too strong language and graphic depictions of the Holocaust. About 6 million Jews died between the 1930s and early 1940s as the Nazi regime systematically arrested and cruelly killed them.
Nirvana Comics said it would donate copies of the book because it “[believes] it’s a must-read for everyone. It says that all students have to do is request a copy by calling the store or reach out on social media. However, he said he has a limited number of books, so there might be a waiting list for anyone interested in reading it.
“We’re going to be able to buy a copy of Maus for every student who’s requested one so far. We have a huge waiting list of people from all over the country,” said Rich Davis, who works at the store. “We’re going to prioritize the Tennessee area. Then we’ll start shipping. We’re going to be able to do that and maybe donate to as many Tennessee public school libraries as we can.”
They said they had a large order of Maus due to arrive soon, so they could donate more copies of the book after their initial stock was loaned or sold.
“We are in talks with a much larger organization to expand the program. We hope to hear about this soon,” they said.
The book is a graphic novel written in a documentary style, following the story of a man and his family as he watches the Nazi regime rise to power and eventually invade Poland. Later in the book, he is taken to Auschwitz, a concentration camp where over a million Jews were worked almost to death, starved, and systematically killed.
The author, Art Spiegelman, drew figures like mice and learned the story through interviews with his father who survived his shipment to Auschwitz.
Thursday was also International Holocaust Remembrance Day, when communities around the world honored those who died in the Holocaust and learned how to identify and prevent anti-Semitism.
Anyone wishing to contribute to the Nirvana Comics program can also donate. They said they were studying crowdfunding platforms to better organize donations. On Friday, they launched a campaign on GoFundMe.
Nirvana Comics can be reached at 865-200-5067 or online.