Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Pile


The symbolism of the 1933 bonfires, during which the contents of libraries disappeared for ever, has entered into the culture of politics, film, and even television as a powerful metaphor of demagoguery, censorship, and suppression. People who depend upon free access to information have to this day often focused on the Nazi book burnings as a historical analogy to past and present-day events.


What did we lose, I wonder; what wisdom and what wit,
When Hitler piled the books on high and the eager flames were lit.
Mercifully, many authors had books in print elsewhere
But there were countless manuscripts vanishing in thin air.
Maybe we lost the answers to questions we still ask;
Maybe we lost the instructions to some still-puzzling task.
Maybe some glorious poetry to thrill the human soul
Went up in smoke for ever when Hitler took his toll.
Maybe works of science to improve our human lot,
Flared and died  and disappeared and he didn't care a jot!
We'll never know what we have lost;  but the thought still gives us pain.
Surely the Burning of the Books could never occur again!

A very different view of books here:


Margaret Gosden said...

What is as bad as burning books, is institutional censorship. Those who collect books for personal reasons that never see the light of day. Royal collections, the Vatican, to name two institutions that surely hold untold books that they would rather keep hidden 'til kingdom come.

Ziggy Stardust said...

That is an excellant interpretation of the word. Thank you


i beati said...

wow good one made me think and be very thankful sanyd

Barb said...

In a time and place such as that, even more horrible things could happen and did.

I'm a lover of books, even the feel and smell of them.. I would never condone this form of censorship.

Sorry to be so serious. I'm on my first cup of coffee. ;)

Megan, Life Revamped said...

books are always for sharing!

quilly said...

The destruction of a people is never complete unless their knowledge and memories are destroyed as well. Such leaves me appalled and speechless -- thankfully, folks like you are moved to words by such atrocities and can speak for those of us left dumb.

Bogey said...

Sadly, there is a mentality within many countries that would not lose a moments rest if they could annihilate their "enemies". What is worse, they bring up their own children with such vile hatred and little understanding of why? I suppose this is why I looked upon our recent Multi-Cultural Event with a glimmer of hope!

Karen said...

Shocking that something like that could happen and could happen again.

Kat said...

was so sad to read this..!!!

maryt/theteach said...

thanks for posting the terrible things the Nazis did...