Libricide: The Regime-Sponsored Destruction of Books and Libraries in the Twentieth Century
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Where they have burned books, they will end in burning human beings, declared German poet Heinrich Heine. This book identifies the regime-sponsored, ideologically driven, and systemic destruction of books and libraries in the 20th century that often served as a prelude or accompaniment to the massive human tragedies that have characterized a most violent century. Using case studies of libricide committed by Nazis, Serbs in Bosnia, Iraqis in Kuwait, Maoists during the Cultural Revolution in China, and Chinese Communists in Tibet, Knuth argues that the destruction of books and libraries by authoritarian regimes was sparked by the same impulses toward negation that provoked acts of genocide or ethnocide.
Readers will learn why some people―even those not subject to authoritarian regimes―consider the destruction of books a positive process. Knuth promotes understanding of the reasons behind extremism and patterns of cultural terrorism, and concludes that what is at stake with libricide is nothing less than the preservation and continuation of the common cultural heritage of the world. Anyone committed to freedom of expression and humanistic values will embrace this passionate and valuable book.
unique. Perhaps because the Chinese found the chasm between their notions of religion, culture, language, history, and political ethos and that of the Tibetans entirely unbridgeable, Sinicization became a program of forced extinction—the only way to "liberate" Tibet being to destroy it (Patt 1992). Certainly the violent and cumulative implementation of their policies brought them to genocide. A pattern emerges when one compares the fate of Tibetans with other religious groups. Phuntsog Wangyal
or any combination of these definitions, a flexibility that only adds to confusion in pinpointing the doctrine's error. Blurred distinctions between race and ethnicity add another level of confusion. It has been argued that "race" should be reserved for those showing similar physical characteristics, and "ethnicity" for those with similar cultural characteristics (Carlton 1990). Race, some have argued, has to do with the categorization of people, while ethnicity has to do with a group's
and sorted; again, valuable library and museum items were to be removed to Germany, along with all scientific books and periodicals. The library of the Polish Parliament, for example, was moved to Germany. However, after a series of wholesale removals, the Nazi administrators in Poland opposed this plan, arguing that administrators would need collections to gather information and to support new German educational institutions in Poland. Thus, many scientific books and university collections were
as they advanced. For example, in the Soviet Union the Special Service Battalion of the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs was instructed to seize manuscripts, archives, and books immediately upon the capitulation of each town and city along the invasion route (Shaffer 1946). Civil authorities, aided by specialized administrative units, made long-range plans for the disposal of these materials. For example, the Rosenberg Task Force for Occupied Territories (ERR) was developed to seek out and
protector, (quoted in Post 1993, 53) Despite this later rhetoric, the invasion was first publicized as an attempt to support an indigenous Kuwaiti uprising against the monarchy, a fabrication designed to support Saddam's plan to set up a puppet regime in Kuwait and claim that Kuwait was undergoing a Pan-Arab revolution. However, he could not find any prominent Kuwaiti willing to man such a regime. Global public opinion also rejected this rationalization and identified the invasion as an illegal