A board game called “Secret Hitler” has been a perennial best seller for the past three holiday seasons at Amazon, and organizations are calling for it to be removed from the e-commerce giant. So far, Amazon has not responded.
The game is not new to Amazon, as data shows. Instead, it has been a top-100 seller since at least 2017, with sales spikes in the new year each year.
In 2017, the game peaked at a sales rank of 53 out of 100 on January 17. The following year, it peaked at around 60 on January 2. In 2019, its best year, it hit spot #28 out of 100. And just last Christmas, the game once again soared to a sales rank of 31 on December 27.
Critics of the game are asking Amazon to remove it, saying that it normalizes Hitler as a fun, fictional character as part of a game night.
“Anything that depicts anything regarding Hitler is a very sensitive issue, especially with growing anti-Semitism throughout Canada, the U.S. and around the world,” B’Nai Brith Canada regional director Harvey Levine told the Montreal Gazette.
Meanwhile, its creators argue that the game acts as a reminder and warning about how fascism can form, even in today’s world. Its product page on Amazon describes it as such:
Secret Hitler is a dramatic game of political intrigue and betrayal set in 1930’s Germany. Players are secretly divided into two teams - liberals and fascists. Known only to each other, the fascists coordinate to sow distrust and install their cold-blooded leader. The liberals must find and stop the Secret Hitler before it’s too late.
Each round, players elect a President and a Chancellor who will work together to enact a law from a random deck. If the government passes a fascist law, players must try to figure out if they were betrayed or simply unlucky. Secret Hitler also features government powers that come into play as fascism advances. The fascists will use those powers to create chaos unless liberals can pull the nation back from the brink of war.
But of all the products that use the word “Hitler” in their titles that have sold at Amazon, “Secret Hitler” is the only product that is of an entertaining nature. Only three products at Amazon with the term “Hitler” in their titles have sold well for more than a single day.
A collectible coin has ranked for 81 days, hitting ranks as high as 10 of 100 in Amazon’s collectibles category. Similarly, a collectible Iraqi currency from Sadam Hussein’s reign mentions Hitler in its title, and ranked as high as 12 out of 100 across 10 days. Other top Hitler-mentioning items at Amazon tend to be history books and other collectibles.
But none have sold as well as “Secret Hitler”, and none are games or toys.
While Amazon hasn’t removed the game, Montreal retail chain Tour de Jeux stopped selling it after receiving a call from B’nai Brith Canada.
The game was co-created by Max Temkin, who also created the wildly successful Cards Against Humanity. He’s also Jewish.
Thinknum.com originally published this story.
Secret Hitler board game: huge holiday hit at Amazon