Memory & Action
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Memory & Action

Fires of Hate: How the Nazis Targeted Books and Free Thinking

Nazi Storm Troopers and young German men holding pictures and pamphlets at a public book burning, circa 1933–1940.
Nazi Storm Troopers and young German men holding pictures and pamphlets at a public book burning, circa 1933–1940.

Beginning in May 1933, university students in Nazi clubs across Germany orchestrated a destructive campaign to burn thousands of books and other materials considered “un-German.” The works of Jewish writers including Sigmund Freud and political activists such as Helen Keller were among countless others scorched in festive ceremonies celebrating Nazi ideology. Even children’s books were destroyed.

The Nazi regime’s early efforts to control the thoughts and lives of its citizens foreshadowed more brutal threats on the horizon. As campaigns to ban books and control information resurface today, watch this timely digital program.

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