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Seventy-five years ago – May 10, 1933 – the Nazis staged what is probably the most infamous of all book burnings.
The burnings were a very public, very threatening public relations stunt organized by two Nazi student associations anxious to prove their allegiance to the government. The Nazi Purification Committee deemed more than 2,500 authors fuel for the fires, and thousands of books banned by the Nazi regime were tossed into the pyres.
Minister for Popular Enlightenment and Propaganda Joseph Goebbels gave official approval to the event.
Your bookshelves marked whether you were a friend of Aryan Germany or an enemy of the state.
People have burnt books for almost as long as they have printed them.
J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter novels are regularly torched for promoting witchcraft; even here in the Land of Enchantment, Harry Potter books were destroyed in Alamogordo alongside other works considered to be “the work of the devil,” including horror books by Stephen King, CDs by Eminem and AC/DC, and copies of Disney’s “Snow White.”
Ray Bradbury said, “You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them.”
This weekend, please pause a minute to reflect on your freedom to read what you like.
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