80 Years Ago, @ 451 Fahrenheit

teaserbreitA day not to be forgotten: Eighty years ago, on 10 May 1933 in a number of cities throughout the so-called Third Reich, the Nazis publicly burned the books (upwards of 25,000) of many writers, mong them Kurt Tucholsky, Ossietzky, Heinrich Heine, Karl Marx, Sigmund Freud, Heinrich Mann, Erich Kästner & Bertolt Brecht. A good number of intellectuals left the country — the consequences still detectable today.

Nazi propaganda minister Goebbels enjoyed the event & in Berlin addressed the students responsible for much of the action: “Yes to decency and morality in family and state! I consign to the flames the writings of Heinrich MannErnst GläserErich 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.”


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1 Response

  1. Poo says:

    The “new spirit” revealed itself less than a decade later in Paris. From 1940 to 1944 the The Nazis of the Third Reich stored their looted Jewish cultural property in France. Some of the art was to be sent to the Fuehrermuseum in Linz. Many of these works were deemed “degenerate art” and “unworthy” of Nazis eyes. They were, however, found suitable for foreigners with money so were sold to the highest bidder on the international market. On the night of July 27th, 1942, unsold modern art, including great works by Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, Gauguin and Manet among others were burned in a bonfire on the grounds of the Jeu de Paume. It is heart breaking to think of either event. Mind you, I always heard the “thud” of the guillotine and the screaming of the crowd each time I passed by the Place de la Concorde. History is replete with events such as those mentioned here. It is good to remember them. It is also said to be instructional but I have my doubts about that.

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