“Dort, wo man Bucher verbrennt, verbrennt man am Ende auch Menschen.” (Where books are burned, they will in the end burn people, too.)
– Heinrich Heine (1797-1856), German poet
Eric Metaxas in chapter 10 of his celebrated book “Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy,” in a subsection titled, “Where Books Are Burned …” in dramatic fashion chronicles the rise of Nazi book burning in early Nazi history just four months after Hitler assumed power. In May 1933, the Nazification of the German people continued in full force using, among others, the Nazi tactic Gleichschaltung (i.e., forcing into line), which was a much discussed idea Goring referenced at the German Christians’ conference in Berlin the previous month. It preordained that everything in German society must fall in line with the Nazi worldview (Weltanschauung). This included the world of books and ideas being forced into a Nazi worldview, or if incompatible with Nazification, then systematically destroyed.
Metaxas demonstrated the collective angst all Germans of good faith like Bonhoeffer had over the growing Nazi menace after Hitler came to power in 1933:
“Young and hitherto wholly unknown medical trainees came, as representatives of the Party, to suggest to the heads of hospitals that they immediately dismiss the Jewish doctors. Some allowed themselves to be persuaded. Any suggestions that such matters came under the jurisdiction of the Ministry and not of the Party were met with threats. The Dean tried to persuade faculty members to join the Party collectively. His attempt was foiled by individual refusals. Nor did the Ministry at first make any move to meet the demand for the dismissal of Jewish assistants. But doctors in individual hospitals were constantly spied upon to discover their attitude towards the Party.”
Doesn’t this passage have a ring of familiarity with American culture and society in the Age of Obama (2009–present), particularly the spying aspects and infusing a militant progressive worldview throughout America?
Metaxas explained the intoxicating imagery behind Nazi book burning ceremonies: “Goebbels, the propagandist, well knew that to stage a torchlight parade, followed by a bonfire … invoked the gods of the German Volk (people), who represented strength and ruthlessness and blood and soil; indeed … it was very much meant to be anti-Christian, though it wouldn’t do to say so, since most of those present might have balked to hear such a thing, though they well felt it.”
I quoted Heinrich Heine’s famous words about the book burnings in the epigram above, words that today are inscribed at the Opernplatz as a memorial of this horrific ritual against freedom of ideas and thought. However, another passage from Heine’s works is possibly more uncannily prophetic of what would take place in Germany 100 years later. They are the concluding words of his 1834 book, “Religion and Philosophy in Germany”:
Christianity – and that is its greatest merit – has somewhat mitigated that brutal German love of war, but it could not destroy it. Should that subduing talisman, the cross, be shattered, the frenzied madness of the ancient warriors, that insane Berserk rage of which Nordic bards have spoken and sung so often, will once more burst into flame. This talisman is fragile, and the day will come when it will collapse miserably. Then the ancient stony gods will rise from the forgotten debris and rub the dust of a thousand years from their eyes, and finally Thor with his giant hammer will jump up and smash the Gothic cathedrals. … Thought precedes action as lightning precedes thunder. … [W]hen you hear a crashing such as never before has been heard in the world’s history, then you know that the German thunderbolt has fallen at last. At that uproar the eagles of the air will drop dead, and lions in the remotest deserts of Africa will hide in their royal dens. A play will be performed in Germany which will make the French Revolution look like an innocent idyll.
Nazification was Hitler and the Nazis’ successful attempt to make all of Germany a Nazi State and every German citizens a Nazi by using proven tactics like Gleichschaltung (forcing into line) and Weltanschauung (Nazi worldview). Similarly, under today’s Progressive Revolution since the 1850s, the Democrat Socialist Party has totally embraced Machiavelli’s “the end justify the means,” “Might makes right,” or as Lord Acton wrote of Machiavelli, “State [and federal] power is not bound by moral law,” which can only be achieved through the liberal lie: separation of church and state. Book burnings then, Obamacare now, were simply a dramatic means to achieve these socialist ends.
The caption in the image above was perhaps written around 1943 and says that, “Ten years ago the Nazis burned these books … but in America we can still read them.” Although this statement tried to distinguish America from Nazi Germany, it is only partially true today. Why? Because while in a de jure (legal) sense America today doesn’t burn books, in a de facto (unofficial) sense through our book publishing industry, our literary agent industry, our media, our education system, our politics, our legal system and throughout culture and society, their exists an existential book burning, happening on a much greater scale by the Democrat Socialist Party, a scale the Nationalist Socialist Party could only dream of 80 years ago under Hitler and the Nazis. In modern times today, leftists creates this book burning atmosphere by deconstructing, perverting and destroying conservative ideas, particularly those out of the Judeo-Christian tradition of intellectual thought … without lighting one match or igniting one torch. Hitler would be pleased!
Only in such an anti-God, anti-intellectual society as America has devolved into during the Age of Progressivism (1860–present) and in the Age of Obama (2009–present) are Heine’s prophetic words tantamount to those of Moses, Isaiah and St. Paul when he wrote, “Where books (ideas) are burned, they will, in the end burn people, too.”