publication date: Dec 12, 2023
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140,000 Watch Students Fire
Volumes in a Drizzle, but
Show Little Enthusiasm.



But ‘Un-German’ Literature Is
Consigned to the Flames in
Most University Towns.


BERLIN, May 10.—In most of the
German university towns tonight
the enthusiastic studenthoods are
ceremoniously burning ‘the un-
German spirit’ as exemplified in
literature, pamphlet, correspon-
dence and record. It is all being!
done to the accompaniment of
torchlight parades, martial music
and much patriotic speechifying—
the British Guy Fawkes Day in-
tensified a thousandfold.

There are some thirty universi-
ties in Germany, at least one to
each State. Each was to have had
its bonfire, but the celebrations in
Cologne, Heidelberg and other
places were postponed until next

The celebrations held varied some-
what, but more in degree than
in kind. Berlin naturally had the
largest and what happened here
was more or less typical of the
celebrations elsewhere.

Probably 40,000 persons assembled
in the great square between the
opera house and the university
and stood in a drizzle to watch the
show. Perhaps as many more
gathered along the five miles of
streets through which the torch-
bearing parade of students escorted
the borrowed trucks and private
cars containing the books and
pamphlets to be burned. But to
the uninspired observer it savored
strongly of the childish.

5,000 Students in Parade.

Five thousand students, young
men and young women together,
marched in the parade. All the stu-
dent corps were represented—red
caps and green caps, purple and
blue, with a chosen band of officers
of the dueling corps in plush tam o'
shanters, white breeches, blue
tunics and high boots—with spurs.
Bearing banners and singing Nazi
songs and college melodies, they

It was toward midnight when
they reached the great square.


There on a granite block of pave-
ment protected by a thick covering
of sand had been built up a funeral
pyre of crossed logs. some twelve
feet square and five feet high.

Finally the head of the procession
arrived. It passed the piled logs
and formed within the great space
reserved for it.

As they passed, the paraders
tossed upon the logs the stumps of
lighted torches that they had car-
ried, until from end to end the
mass was aflame.

Then came the books and pam-
phlets. The cars carrying them
stopped at a distance and each
group of students brought an arm-
ful and tossed it into the fire. A
draft caught up the embers,
bearing them far and wide. First.
the crowds cheered each new con- |
tribution. but they soon tired.

Then the students’ president,
Gutjahr, in a Nazi uniform, made a
speech. He and his fellows had
gathered, he said, to consign to the
flames ‘‘un-German’’ books and
documents that threatened to dis-
integrate the national movement.
They took joy in it. Henceforth
there must be purity in German

Crowd Seems Disappointed.

It was a boy’s speech and it was
received with boyish enthusiasm—
by the students. The crowd seemed
disappointed. To work up enthu-
sizsm when fresh consignments
reached the fire a student barker
began to name the authors:

“Sigmund Freud—for falsifying
our history and degrading its great

The crowd cheered.

“Emil Ludwig—burned for liter-
ary rascality and high treason
against Germany!’

Loud cheers!

Then Erich Maria Remarque—
“for degrading the German lan-
guage and the highest patriotic
ideal’’; Alfred Kerr, late dramatic
critic of the Tageblatt, denounced
as ‘‘a dishonest literary editor
of the Tageblatt, pilloried as,
"anti-German," and Georg Bern-
hard, former editor of the Vossi-
sche Zeitung. For these last there
were available for burning only a
few copies of their respective news-
papers and a few magazine articles.

So it went until there appeared,
amid Nazi salutes and protected by
uniformed satellites, the attraction
of the evening, Dr. Paul Joseph
Goebbels, the Minister of Propa-
ganda, himself. Mounted on a tiny
swastika-draped rostrum, he spoke.

“Jewish intellectualism is dead,’
he declared. "National socialism
has hewn the way. The German
folk soul can again express itself.

“These flames do not only illu-
minate the final end of the old era,
they light up the new. Never
before have the young men had so
good a right to clean up the débris
of the past. If the old men do not
understand what is going on, let
them grasp that we young [Dr.
Goebbels is under 40] men have
gone and done it.

“The old goes up in flames, the
new shall be fashioned from the
flame in our hearts.”

Much more, but all like that.
Then the song “‘The Nation to
Arms’? and the Horst Wessel song.
More literature on the fire. And
more student singing. But the
crowd disintegrating until it be-
came a dreary duty to burn what
literature was left.

It was not so large in quantity,
because today a paper mill offered
a small price for all it could get
and the offer was accepted on con-
dition that the student representa-
tives should supervise the actual
destruction. The proceeds will pay
for the torches and the bands.

Original List Reduced.

As to what went into the cere-
monial bonfires tonight and will be
included in the reconversion. into
raw material by the paper mills at
the rate of one mark for 100 kilo-
grams [currently about 27.5 cents
220 pounds], the destruction is
not so all-embracing as what was
at first threatened.

There is good reason to believe
that the ripples of amusement that
went through the outside world
over the first rush of student en-
thusiasm had some effect on the
older and wiser university heads.
German propaganda authorities
themselves, who recently had seen
the effect of making Germany ri-
diculous as well as censurable, may
even have been heard from. At any
rate, not everything under attack
went into the discard.

For several days whole truckloads
of books, both seized and volunta-
rily offered for immolation, have
at the students’ house in
the Oranienburgerstrasse,
but these have undergone a weed-
ing-out process. Students have been
busy night and day going through
the piles to insure that especially
valuable books or others not on the
German index expurgatorius should
escape. Such of these as were
found are to be returned to the

Nevertheless, plenty has been left
that elsewhere in the world would
be deemed innocuous if not posl-
tivly beneficial, or at worst capa-
ble of carrying its own condemna-
tion. In the pink-faced, healthy
student-hood between the ages of
18 and 22 is found boundless en-
thusiasm, but not overmuch discre-
tion. In this instance the enthu-
siasm had virtually free rein.

How Books Were Chosen.

About such pictures and pamph-
lets as were gathered in from Dr.
Magnus Hirschfeld’s so-called In-
stitute of Sexual Science the other
day—which, with all the correspon-
dence from outsiders who had
taken the place seriously, went
into the flames tonight—there
could be little question. But there
was much more. Take this for-
mula, laid down in one of the stu-
dents’ appeals for sacrificial ma-
terial and note its comprehensive-

“Anything that works subversive-
ly on family life, married life or
love or the ethics of our youth or
our future or strikes at the roots
of German thought, home
and the driving forces in our
any works of those who
would subordinate the soul to the
material, anything that serves the
purpose of lies.”

Almost anything could be under-
stodd by this student enthusiast to
be covered by that, And so with
‘the seeping poison that hides un-
der the mask of pacifism.” to say
nothing of the ban on all literature
emanating from Jewish thinkers,
all of which—although the works
of Heine are strangely encugh not
among the sacrificed—are included
in this comprehensive student ana-

“The Jew, who is powerful in in-
tellect, but weal: in blood and with-
out home and fireside, remains
without understanding in the pres-
ence of German thought, fails to
dignify it and, therefore, is bound
to injure the German spirit.”

Nobel Prize Winners Included.

Inevitably the bonfire piles be-,
came large. World distinction and
world praise had not counted in
assembling them. Nobel Prize win-
ners and all went into the auto
da fé.

There was, for example, one of
the first pacifist novels ever writ-
ten. Bertha von Suttner got the
Nobel Prize for ‘Lay Down Your
Arms’ in 1905, but it has now be-
“un-German’’ and was burned.

The works of Thomas Mann, a
later Nobel Prize winner, went into
the flames en bloc What savad
Sinclair Lewis may never be re- |
vealed, but many other 3,000,000-
volume sellers became sacrifices,
beginning with Erich Maria Re-
margue’s ‘‘All Quiet on the West-
ern Front.”

The victims even included Count
Coudenhove-Kalergi, the Japanese-
Viennese author, who dreams of
Pan-Europa. He falls under the
ban because it is not a Prussian
Pan-Europa and, moreover, might’
be Suspected of having a Socialist.

For Berlin the first list alone—
supplemented later—comprised four
long typewritten pages containing
the names of 160 authors, many
of them almost unheard of before.
It almost seemed as if any German
student browsing in a second-hand
bookstore, encountering a volume’
that he privately regarded as spicy,
had been privileged to name a can-

The American Victims.

Among the Americans, Helen
Keller's “How I Became a Social-
‘ist’’ got into the fire. She had for
company Upton Sinclair, Judge Ben
Lindsey, Jack London and Morris
Hillquit, among others. Judge |
Lindsey got there because he is rfe-'
garded as assailing the marriage
system. Robert Carr was burned
in the shape of his “Wild-Blooming
Youth,” which might have been
expected to be unknown to fame in.
Berlin but evidently isn't.

Socialist and Communist authors
naturally figured largely. Karl
Marx, Friedrich Engels, Lassalle,
Bebel, Liebknecht, Kautsky, Bern-
stein and Wilferding among the
Germans and Austrians, Lenin,
Stalin, Zinovieff, Lunacharsky and
Bukharin among the Russians, and
Henry Lichtenberger, French phil-
osopher who wrote on Franco-Ger-
man relations, all went up in
smoke as "un-Germean."

In the domain of belles lettres
Heinrich Mann is included with
Thomas Mann and then comes a
long list including Emil Ludwig,
who writes about Germany for The
New York Times; Lion Feucht-
iwanger, Arthur Schnitzler, Jakob
Wassermann, Arnold and Stephan
Zweig, Walther Rathenau, the Ger-
man Foreign Minister who was as-
sassinated by Nationalist gangster;
Hugo Preuss, who wrote the
Weimar Constitution for the repub-
lic and spent the rest of his time
expounding it, and countless others.

The bonfires are still burning as
this is being written and there is
going up in their smoke more than
college boy prejudice and enthusi-
asm. A lot of the old German
liberalism—if any was left—was
burned tonight.

The New York Times

Published: May 11, 1933


They're Burning Books in Tennessee

Greg Locke's zealots
set fire to sacred
millennial texts like
Harry Potter and Twilight

Alejandro Ramirez

Last week, McMinn County made
news when the school board voted
to ban beloved graphic novel Maus
— a Holocaust story told with
anthropomorphic mice and cats —
due to instances of swear words
and nudity. While the vote happened
in early January, it went viral
following a report from TN Holler.

Last night, Mt. Juliet pastor and
pro-Trump conspiracy theorist Greg
Locke decided to turn it up a
notch by organizing an old-fashioned
book burning. The books included
millennial staples like Harry Potter
and Twilight — hits of the early
Aughts that were targeted by
Christian book burnings back
in the day.

In a sermon preceding the
bonfire, Locke described beefing
with "Free Mason devils" and
said "I ain't gonna be 'suiciding
myself' no time soon."
Locke also said people
aren't mad that they
were burning books, but mad
because of the books they
were burning — implying
that his critics, even other
pastors, were devil and
witchcraft supporters.

You can see the footage in
Locke's Facebook video of
the event — the burning
starts about an hour in.

Tennessee ended January
on a couple fucked-up and
embarrassing notes, thanks
to the aforementioned
book-ban news in
McMinn County as well
a shocking incident wherein
law enforcement officers
gunned down a man
on the highway. Locke's
fiery assault on youth
literature might just keep
that godawful streak
going into February.

Tyler Salinas took
photos of the event, and
said there was one
counterprotester in
attendance. The man
threw a book into the
fire and claimed it was
the Bible while holding
up copies of 
Fahrenheit 451 a
On the Origin of Species.
Check out Salinas' photos

Nashville Scene

Published: Fenruary 3, 2022

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