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The danger of banning books [letter] | Letters to the Editor

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The danger of banning books [letter] |  Letters to the Editor

The current phenomenon and pressure to remove books from school libraries and school curricula should alarm us all. During the first days after the Nazis came to power in the 1930s, books were burned at mass rallies in every major university town in Germany.

More than 100 years earlier, the German poet Heinrich Heine wrote: “Where books are burned, in the end people will be burned.” How prophetic these words were! To find more information on the Nazi book burning, visit the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum website (ushmm.org).

You might think it’s a far cry from removing books from schools to burn books, but consider what theologian Martin Niemoeller wrote in a 1946 poem:

They first came for the socialists, and I did not speak –

Because I was not a socialist.

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t say anything —

Because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I said nothing –

Because I was not Jewish.

Then they came for me – and there was no one to speak for me.

We should not fear books, but support our children’s education by exposing them to history, facts and ideas. We don’t make them safer by limiting what they can read.

Suzanne Schudel

Township of Mannheim