Where they burn books, they will ultimately burn people as well .

The title of this blog is a quote from Heinrich Heine’s play “Almansor” which he had written in 1821. Heine was a Jewish German poet, writer and literary critic. His words would ring true just over a century after he wrote them.

The Holocaust didn’t start with the mass murder of Jews and other so called “undesirables”. It was a gradual process. It was not just the destruction of life but also the destruction of art and culture that did not suit the Nazis philosophy.

In a symbolic act of ominous significance, on May 10, 1933, university students burned upwards of 25,000 volumes of so called “un-German” books, heralding a period of state censorship and control of culture. The disturbing part of this ,it was university students doing this, Supposedly well educated people. In an effort to synchronize the literary community, Goebbels had a strong ally in the National Socialist German Students’ Association (Nationalsozialistischer Deutscher Studentenbund, or NSDStB).

On the evening of May 10, in most university towns, right-wing students marched in torchlight parades “against the un-German spirit.” The scripted rituals required for high Nazi officials, professors, university rectors, and university student leaders to address the participants and onlookers.

The event was organised by the Ministry of Propaganda and Public Enlightenment. There are 3 definitions for enlightenment:

1.the act or means of enlightening : the state of being enlightened
2capitalized : a philosophical movement of the 18th century marked by a rejection of traditional social, religious, and political ideas and an emphasis on rationalism —used with the
3. Buddhism : a final blessed state marked by the absence of desire or suffering.

None of the definitions applied here.

Below are just some of the books which were deemed harmful to the German people, according to the Nazis .

Bambi, a Life in the Woods; Time Machine; War of the Worlds; The condition of the working class in England; All Quiet on the Western Front; The Lord of the Rings; Ivanhoe.

As you can see from those titles there was absolutely no justification, nor will there ever be, for banning and burning books.

In Berlin, some 40,000 people heard Joseph Goebbels deliver a fiery address: “No to decadence and moral corruption!” Goebbels enjoined the crowd. “Yes to decency and morality in family and state! I consign to the flames the writings of Heinrich Mann, Ernst Glaeser, Erich Kästner.”

“The era of extreme Jewish intellectualism is now at an end. The breakthrough of the German revolution has again cleared the way on the German path…The future German man will not just be a man of books, but a man of character. It is to this end that we want to educate you. As a young person, to already have the courage to face the pitiless glare, to overcome the fear of death, and to regain respect for death – this is the task of this young generation. And thus you do well in this midnight hour to commit to the flames the evil spirit of the past. This is a strong, great and symbolic deed – a deed which should document the following for the world to know – Here the intellectual foundation of the November Republic is sinking to the ground, but from this wreckage the phoenix of a new spirit will triumphantly rise.”

— Joseph Goebbels, Speech to the students in Berlin.

Not all book burnings took place on May 10, as the German Student Association had planned. Some were postponed a few days because of rain. Others, based on local chapter preference, took place on June 21, the summer solstice, a traditional date for bonfire celebrations in Germany.

The really scary things is this is happening again, the burning has been replaced by cancelling, and the banning of books is happening more and more.

sources

https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/book-burning

https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/features/goebbels-burnings/

https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/101688.Books_Banned_by_Nazis

http://www.artandpopularculture.com/Bambi%2C_A_Life_in_the_Woods

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The time JRR Tolkien gave the proverbial middle finger to Hitler.

hOBBIT

Not only were the Nazis a murderous bunch they also stole and destroyed art , and denied the German people the right to read some of the most classic books.

JRR Tolkien’s ‘the Hobbit’ was one of those books. However the book probably could have been published,if Tolkien would have neglected his principles, but such was the character of the man that he didn’t.

When he was in negotiation with the Berlin based publishing house Rütten & Loening, to get the Hobbit released in German in 1938. When he was asked to verify his Aryan heritage he send the following written statement to the publishers.

“Thank you for your letter. I regret that I am not clear as to what you intend by arisch. I am not of Aryan extraction: that is Indo-Iranian; as far as I am aware none of my ancestors spoke Hindustani, Persian, Gypsy, or any related dialects.

Aryan

But if I am to understand that you are enquiring whether I am of Jewish origin, I can only reply that I regret that I appear to have no ancestors of that gifted people.

My great-great-grandfather came to England in the eighteenth century from Germany: the main part of my descent is therefore purely English, and I am an English subject – which should be sufficient. I have been accustomed, nonetheless, to regard my German name with pride, and continued to do so throughout the period of the late regrettable war, in which I served in the English army. I cannot, however, forbear to comment that if impertinent and irrelevant inquiries of this sort are to become the rule in matters of literature, then the time is not far distant when a German name will no longer be a source of pride.

Your enquiry is doubtless made in order to comply with the laws of your own country, but that this should be held to apply to the subjects of another state would be improper, even if it had (as it has not) any bearing whatsoever on the merits of my work or its sustainability for publication, of which you appear to have satisfied yourselves without reference to my Abstammung.”

He also referred to Adolf Hitler as a “ruddy little ignoramus.” in a letter to his son in 1941.

He could have potentially earned millions if he had published his book in German, but he chose to keep his integrity and dignity. The Hobbit did get published in Germany after the war.

JRR

Donation

I am passionate about my site and I know you all like reading my blogs. I have been doing this at no cost and will continue to do so. All I ask is for a voluntary donation of $2, however if you are not in a position to do so I can fully understand, maybe next time then. Thank you. To donate click on the credit/debit card icon of the card you will use. If you want to donate more then $2 just add a higher number in the box left from the PayPal link. Many thanks.

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Sources

The Tolkien Gateway

Special thank you to Norman Stone for pointing out the story to me