December 1, 2005

Deja Vu in Reverse?

Monday July 25th 2005, 1:18 pm
Filed under: Book Bans

The Dallas Public Library has unveiled a historical exhibit that, perhaps unintentionally, has eerie parallels to today’s indecency debate.

Fighting the Fires of Hate: America and the Nazi Book Burnings,” focuses on the efforts of Nazi Germany to eliminate materials considered “un-German.” It also deals with the homefront’s efforts during WWII to eliminate materials considered to be “pro-Nazi.”

From the Dallas Morning News:

Though primarily concerned with the Nazi book burnings, the exhibit also sheds light on censorship in today’s American society, including the burning of books such as Harry Potter by members of a Michigan church in 2003.

“It’s kind of ridiculous,” said Dallas resident David Rosen, 41, about the Potter book burnings. “If you don’t want your kids to read it, don’t check it out for them.”
Also Online

En español: Biblioteca recuerda quema nazi de libros

As the exhibit illustrates, however, such choices were nonexistent for citizens in Germany from 1933 until the Nazis’ fall at the end of World War II.

After a group of German university students and librarians formed the first “blacklists” of banned books in 1933, the works of authors ranging from Ernest Hemmingway and Helen Keller to Sigmund Freud and Albert Einstein were committed to the flames.

“The German press became a Nazi press … Nazi papers … Nazi pamphlets. These were all people could read,” says the narrative of one video in the historical display. “One voice from the cradle to the grave; Hitler, Hitler, Hitler.”

The Morning News article takes an interesting side trip. The library’s multiculti expert, Miriam Rodriguez, was raised in Cuba. “There were many books censored in Cuba, and well, you didn’t talk about those books,” she said. “But even though we are in America, and this is a free country, we are not off the hook of censorship.”

Read more. And if you’re in the neiborhood, pop in for a visit.

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