Editor’s note: This story contains antisemitic language.

Fresno State will rename its campus library after discovering that its namesake, former librarian Henry Madden, was an unapologetic Nazi sympathizer. 

“The Jews: I am developing a violent and almost uncontrollable phobia against them,” reads a line from a letter penned by Madden in 1935. 

Madden’s antisemitic ideology was kept hidden for decades due to a condition he made upon donating more than 100,000 letters to the school upon his death, stating that they may not be read for 25 years. 

A report filed after a five-month investigation by the school found Madden’s views to be deeply hateful. Madden travelled through Germany in the 1930s, during which time he wrote numerous letters espousing explicitly racist and antisemitic views. Madden served as Fresno State librarian from 1949 to 1979. 

The report found that “Madden echoed unfounded stereotypes about Jewish domination of key professions, drew distinctions between supposedly ‘good’ and ‘bad’ Jews, and confessed ‘a violent and uncontrollable phobia.’” 

Madden described himself as a Nazi and signed off letters, “Heil Hitler!”

The report also found that until his death in 1982, Madden never once repudiated his racism. “The archival record does not contain a single statement of regret about his pro-Hitler views,” the report states. 

The vote by the California State University Board of Trustees confirmed Wednesday the his name will be removed from the library, which will be renamed Fresno State Library. His name will be removed from signage and websites as soon as possible.

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