Roland Tichy is a prize-winning German journalist known for his politically incorrect opinions. The following essay was published back in August on the author’s website. Many thanks to JLH for the translation:
Again, Books Must Be Burned
by Roland Tichy
Books are burning again in Bad Dürrheim: 3,200 books of the City library were destroyed. To be fair, it must be said that we do not know whether they were shredded or actually burned. At any rate, the action took place publicly, like an ambush, planned beforehand and without the participation of the librarian. Librarian Regina Hofmann had to hastily open her library on the first day of her vacation. Then members of the government presidium sanitized its contents. The rationale was that this had to do with old travel guides, books that were dirty or were never taken out. Ultimately, it was said that this was about a “barrier-free configuration” in libraries, and space was needed for that.
False Writing Style Is Being Eradicated
In the past, Hofmann had culled 500 books to make room for new ones. But this time it is not the usual and understandable update. This procedure is targeting books with a “false” style. These are the ones that, for example contain the word “Negro.” It even affected Erich Kästner, author of such famous children books as The Flying Classroom, Anna Louise and Anton and Lottie and Lisa. Evidently, his books are considered in Baden-Württemberg to be provocative and an offense against the state-sponsored zeitgeist of re-education to political correctness in the schools.
Children’s books being sanitized — this has been going on for some years now. Otto Preußler’s children’s classics such as The Little Witch, Bandit Hotzenplotz or Krabat are being combed through, according to the publisher Klaus Willberberg of Stuttgart’s Thienemann-Publishing. Expressions such as “little Negro” are being deleted. The Hamburg publisher Friedrich Oetinger has also deleted obsolete words including “Negro” and “Gypsy” in all new editions since 2009, because they no longer correspond to the contemporary “picture of humanity and language usage, and could be misunderstood.” Even Maja the Bee is changed in the new edition. Apparently, literature is being sanitized retrospectively — books that are “false” from today’s point of view are banned from libraries.
Erich Kästner For The Second Time
This is not the first time for Erich Kästner. His books had already landed on the bonfires of the infamous Nazi book burning, which plundered the intellectual literary wealth of Germany, in an effort to prevent any form of free thought. And the dictatorship that followed the Nazis also liked burning literature: “On the evening of International Children’s Day in 1955, students and Young Pioneers of elementary school #18 in Berlin-Pankow threw dirty and trashy literature on the fire. They supplied the impetus for a wave of parental gatherings which demanded a ban on trashy and dirty literature in the territory of the German Democratic Republic.” That — as part of our background picture — is the text from East Germany’s General German News Agency.
The Wording Is Decisive
Literature just has things that are subversive, and confused, and it leads to independent thinking. Conformity with the spirit of the times is the measure of things. Historical consciousness? Bad idea, because: “Proper style is important for children particularly,” says the book-banisher Christina Kälberer to justify the action. First, we must deal with the idea that literature that does not meet the new standards must be disposed of. But then the Gates of Hell open wide. So outside of wording, in some books terminology is not in tune with the times. For instance, as the Südkurier newspaper reports, Kälberer mentions the word “Negro” which still occurs in classics. Apparently the Green-Red political commissars in Diversityland are doing a good job with the intended re-education.
There is some good news. We can begin with the fact that the new form of book burning leaves no residue and is CO2-neutral, done in a facility which was funded in accordance with the Renewable Energy Law. Presumably, the ignition of the books was accomplished in a facility with power-heat coupling. From this it can be seen that the Nazis with their bonfires were just a mob of primitives, and progress is moving inexorably forward. And the library of burned books is bulging again. If you should find in your bookshelves even older, tattered but original editions of Lottie and Lisa, Jim Knopf and Lukas the Train Engineer or Bandit Hotzenplotz, we recommend you save them, but in some place that is not easy to guess. You should not go so far as Hans Herbert Grimm, the author of the anti-war novel Schlump, published in 1928. He walled his manuscript up during the times of the Nazis and the GDR, where it was only re-discovered a few years ago.