|Book burning, Nazi Germany, 1933|
Back in the thirteenth century, the French King, Louis IX, a religious zealot,made the Jews miserable if they didn’t convert. He would attend the baptisms of those who did this voluntarily.
When only 500 of the 3500 Jews in a town chose conversion over the alternative, death, an apostate, Nicholas Donin, came up with the idea that without their holy books, Jews were nothing. Burn the books, destroy the culture. They will replace it.
Donin found an audience with Pope Gregory IX in Rome. He charged that the Talmud contained blasphemies against Christianity and God. The books were the power behind Jewish refusal to accept the true faith. The books needed to be confiscated, destroyed.
The Pope, convinced, ordered seizure of all copies of the Talmud and examined them. On June 12th a stacked public debate sealed the fate. The rabbis defended the faith, but it was a foregone conclusion that 1200 plus copies of Talmud and related commentaries, all written by hand, some a thousand years old, would be lost forever.
The Jews, of course, were not. That burning in 1242 included 24 cartloads of books. This didn't stop the people from writing about the event, or rewriting their books. All is recorded by eye-witnesses without iPhones.
By 1306, the French King Philip IV (the Fair) expelled the Jews from all of France, and in Germany, taxation, pogroms, blood libels, inspired them to leave for what was then Palestine, where they had originally been banished on Tisha B’Av, a millennium and a half before. Rudolph I, not wishing to lose them, declared the Jews personal property and refused to let them leave. They were far too successful.
One doesn’t let a resource like this go so fast.
Then the Spanish Inquisition (Was Columbus Jewish? Did he have to leave Spain?), the pogroms, and we didn't even talk about the previous Crusades. A people forever on the run.
Then in 1933, Hitler took note, burned classics, not just Jewish books, but any old classic that threatened the worship of Nazi ideology, books by:
Henri Barbusse, Franz Boas, John Dos Passos, Albert Einstein, Lion Feuchtwanger, Friedrich Förster, Sigmund Freud, John Galsworthy, André Gide, Ernst Glaeser, Maxim Gorki, Werner Hegemann, Ernest Hemingway, Erich Kästner, Helen Keller, Alfred Kerr, Jack London, Emil Ludwig, Heinrich Mann, Thomas Mann, Karl Marx, Hugo Preuss, Marcel Proust, Erich Maria Remarque, Walther Rathenau, Margaret Sanger, Arthur Schnitzler, Upton Sinclair, Kurt Tucholsky, Jakob Wassermann, H.G. Wells, Theodor Wolff, EmiléZola, Arnold Zweig, and Stefan Zweig..
You see, you can learn some of the tricks to sociopathy, it isn't all genetic.
Not to say that Hitler hadn’t an original thought in his head.
*The full story can be found on p. 360, commentary to Kinah 41, the Complete Tishah B’Av service, Artscroll Series. The kinot are lamentations, sad poems sung in a sad, sing-songy drone)..: