“Where they have burned books, they will end in burning humans.”
— German Poet Heinrich Heine, 1820
Any course syllabus that had as your reading requirement books by John Dos Passos, Thomas Mann, Karl Marx, Ernest Hemingway, Upton Sinclair, Emile Zola, H.G. Wells, Andre Gide, Sigmund Freud, Maxim Gorky, Friedrich Foster, Marcel Proust, Jack London and Erich Maria Remarque would be both illuminating and enlightening. Unless you lived in Germany in 1933.
If you did live in Germany at that time you would, of course, be living in a country ruled by Nazi Party leader and German Reich Chancellor Adolf Hitler, who took a dim view of art that was either created by Jews or was “un-German in spirit.”
And, not surprisingly, this dim view of Jewish or “un-German” art was shared by one of his chief acolytes, Nazi Minister for Popular Enlightenment and Propaganda Joseph Goebbels (only in Nazi Germany would an official even have a title like that, let alone be proud of it). Goebbels thought Germany’s art should be more in line with Germany’s political and social goals, which at that time consisted of glorifying Nazism, Aryan superiority, German nationalism and Herr Hitler himself.
Any artistic work — especially literature — that was not devoted to those topics, or was created by Jews, was considered heresy and in need of censorship.
And censored it was, beginning with the Goebbels-directed German Student Association, which developed an “Action Against the Un-German Spirit” campaign that sent student members of the Nazi Party marching into towns across Germany for the express purpose of tossing books banned by the Nazi Party into bonfires and destroying them. This nationwide bonfire party culminated this week (May 10) in 1933 with the burning of some 25,000 books, including books by the authors listed above. On the night in question, local Nazi Party officials and university professors sympathetic to the Nazi Party addressed large crowds, inciting them to burn their Jewish and “un-German” books as a way of re-affirming traditional values and “purifying the German language and literature” against the “smear campaign” being conducted by Jews and other anti-German intellectuals.
It was the next step in Hitler’s drive to control all German thought, expression and cultural and political belief, and in the ensuing years it wasn’t just books that were banned or censored, but also all Jewish or “un-German” music, paintings, photographs, plays and films. In addition, all Jewish or “un-German” newspapers and magazines were banned or censored, and then religious groups, cultural institutions and political parties.
And finally, as Heinrich Heine predicted a century earlier, Jews and other “un-German” people (gypsies, Slavs, the mentally and physically handicapped) were themselves banned, censored, and — in the crematoriums at Auschwitz, Dachau and elsewhere — burned.
Bruce Kauffmann’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
“Where they have burned books, they will end in burning humans.”
BRUCE’S HISTORY LESSONS: Montgomery Meigs establishes Arlington National Cemetery
This week (June 15) in 1864, Brig. Gen. Montgomery C. Meigs, who had been appointed Quartermaster General of the Union Army in 1861, established Arlington House, the former home of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee, as a cemetery for the Union’s soldiers. Today Arlington National Cemetery is America’s national military burial ground.
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BRUCE’S HISTORY LESSONS: This week in 1944: D-Day and the Airborne assault on Normandy
This week (June 5) in 1944, with the D-Day invasion of the Nazi-occupied Normandy coast set to begin, the man in charge of that invasion, Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, paid a special visit to members of the U.S. 82nd and the 101st Airborne.
Terre Haute North, South African-American clubs taking educational journey to Washington, D.C.
Students and teachers from Terre Haute North and South Vigo high schools saw three years of hard work pay off Monday afternoon as they lined up eagerly at the doors of a school bus to start a long ride to Washington, D.C.
BRUCE’S HISTORY LESSONS: A woman’s voice of moral clarity
This week (June 1) in 1950, Margaret Chase Smith, the Republican senator from Maine and the first woman ever to serve as both a U.S. senator and member of the House of Representatives, gave a speech that, looking back, was a voice of moral clarity amidst a cacophony of madness and vilification.
Education-technology grants given to Valley
Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz has announced the 2013 Technology Resource Grants, awarded to help organizations purchase technology resources for student instruction in career and technical educations classrooms.
Turkey Run presents academic awards
Turkey Run High School freshmen, sophomores and juniors were honored at an awards program on May 16.
Goals, Pride & Achievements
Laci Pethtel of Oblong is the 2013 recipient of the Lincoln Trail College Professional Assistants Group scholarship.
VCSC to offer summer meals
Sarah Scott Middle School will offer free breakfast and lunch for people 18 years old and younger Monday through June 20.
Road Runners name scholarship winners
The Wabash Valley Road Runners have named Anne Mullican and Justin Clapp as the recipients of the 2013 WVRR scholarships.
South student blazes competition with research
Ryan Chung, a junior at Terre Haute South Vigo High School, placed first at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in the computer science category.
Indiana State University Dean’s List
Indiana State University has announced its dean’s list for the spring 2013 semester. Area students recognized for their academic achievement include:
RP recognizes outstanding students
Riverton Parke High School’s class of 2013 was honored on May 15 at the annual senior awards night in the school’s cafetorium.
Student blood donors receive scholarships
Roche Diagnostics and Indiana Blood Center are recognizing 81 high school seniors in Indiana who participate in community service.
Bruce’s History Lessons: Morse’s telegraph and its impact as a ‘game changer’
This week (May 24) in 1844, Professor Samuel F.B. Morse sat in the Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C., surrounded by members of Congress, who had come to witness history.
High schoolers attend automotive, welding skills competitions
Area high school students put their skills to the test at the annual Automotive Skills and Welding Skills competitions on April 18 at Ivy Tech Community College—Wabash Valley.
Riverton Parke presents concert, music awards
The Riverton Parke Jr.-Sr. High School Music Department presented its annual Spring Concert on May 13 in the school gymnasium.
Turkey Run senior awards and honors
Turkey Run High School seniors were honored at an awards program May 13. Scholarships and departmental and activity awards were presented.
South earns national yearbook design honor
The Terre Haute South yearbook, Uaxactun, has been recognized for excellence and featured in the 2013 Gotcha Covered Look Book, Volume 11 celebrating the best-of-the-best in yearbook design and coverage.
Vincennes University Dean’s List
The Vincennes University Dean’s List for Spring 2013 includes students from the Vincennes campus, Jasper campus, Aviation Technology Center in Indianapolis, military bases, and other extended sites.
4 more honored as Four Star Schools
In addition to the three Vigo County schools (Terre Haute South Vigo High School, Dixie Bee Elementary and Fayette Elementary schools) that were announced earlier, four more Wabash Valley schools were recognized as Indiana Four Star Schools.
Bruce’s history lessons: Truman’s decision to recognize Israel
This week (May 14) in 1948, at the direction of President Harry Truman, the United States recognized the existence of the newly formed state of Israel, which had declared independence earlier that day. It was, Truman later stated, among the most important decisions of his presidency.
- Reunion listings: May 16, 2013
Chances and Services for Youth to participate in food program
The Chances and Services for Youth recently announced plans to participate in the Summer Food Service Program.
South Latin students compete at convention
Terre Haute South Vigo High School Latin students competed with other Indiana schools at the recent state convention at ISU.
Southwest Parke School Corp. receives eLearning grant
Southwest Parke Community School Corp. has received an Imagining and Creating eLearning grant for the 2013-2014 school year through the Indiana Department of Education.
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Otter Creek competes in regional Academic Super Bowl
The Otter Creek Academic Super Bowl teams competed in the regional Academic Super Bowl competition on April 27 at Sarah Scott Middle School.
Riverton Parke FFA teams compete at April 16 contest
Two Riverton Parke FFA Parliamentary Procedure Teams competed at the section competition for the Parliamentary Procedure Demonstration Contest on April 16 at the Indiana FFA Center in Trafalgar.
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