remnants of the day

“We do not have to visit a madhouse to find disordered minds;
our planet is the mental institution of the universe.”

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

“The monster was forced onto its knees in agony.
Die, you beast, you symbol of the German Reich.
And Goethe?
To us, Goethe did not exist anymore, Himmler had exterminated him.

Diary of Prisoner 4935


(the remains of a day at the beach /Rosemary Beach, FL/ Julie Cook / 2017)

I don’t know what it is like to steal.
I don’t know what it is like to loot or even plunder.
But what I do know is that stealing, looting and plundering are all wrong and quite sinful…
in that the act of taking that which has not been ‘freely’ given to you…is wrong.

Yet have we not witnessed in most recent months that unrest, demonstrations, riots,
pogroms and even wars have each given way to some unspoken allowance or free license
for those so inclined to act upon the notion of stealing?

I suppose people steal for various reasons however I’ve noticed that human beings
try to, in turn, somehow justify and lessen the intent of those who steal…
giving excuses and passes to those who so choose to steal.

Feeding a starving child is about the only pass I can comprehend as a need to steal.

Yet during the early 1930’s most of the libraries and privately owned book collections
throughout the majority of Europe were plundered, looted and stolen.

“In France alone, the ERR (Reichsleiter Rosenberg Taskforce, a Nazi Party organization dedicated to appropriating cultural property during the Second World War)
confiscated the collections of 723 libraries, containing 1.7 million scripts,
incunabula, and other valuable books and writings.

In Poland, probably the country that was hit harder, it is estimated that 90 percent
of the collections belongings to schools and public libraries were lost.
In addition, 80 percent of the country’s private and specialized libraries disappeared. More or less the entire collection of the polish national library, consisting of some 700,000 volumes, was scattered.
According to one estimate, 15 million of Poland’s 22.5 million books were lost.
(pp32-33)

“In the Soviet Union “one suggestion from UNESSCO lists as many as 100 million books that may have been destroyed or looted.”

“Germany “is believed to have lost between a third to a half of all its book collections,
as a consequence of fires, bombing, and plunder….
In 2008 it was estimated that there were at least one million plundered books in
Germany’s libraries.”
(pp33)

But what an odd thing to steal.
Books and periodicals…both ancient and current.
Items not essential to one’s survival.
Yet items highly prized and pinpointed as crucial in the game of
the spoils of war.

‘For the Nazis realized that if there was something that gave more power than
merely destroying the word, it was owning and controlling it.
There was a power in books.
Words could act as weapons, resounding long after the rumbling of artillery had stopped.
they are weapons not only as propaganda, but also in the form of memories.
(xiii)

Whereas stolen and looted artwork, priceless cultural treasures,
have garnered more world attention over the ensuring years,
it was however the written word that was considered to be the
greater prize.

Why that is, we will explore over the next couple of weeks…as we pursue the tale
of the lost, stolen and seldom reunited in Anders Rydell’s book The Book Thieves /
The Nazi Looting Of Europe’s Libraries And The Race To Return A Literary Inheritance.
Because German libraries are in a race against time as they wrestle with the origins of their current collections…

For “every book carries a story of theft, blackmail, and a tragic fate.
At best, it may be a story of flight, of bailing out on life–
but at worst a story of people who have left no trace behind except for their books.”
(pp58)

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves.
Do what it says.

James 1:22

16 comments on “remnants of the day

  1. Wow! This is perfect explanation of the insane nature of the human mind. Enlightenment is the key.

  2. @vapor_sage says:

    What a wonderfully tragic and interesting subject to learn about. In my opinion, the thugs are provided cover for political leverage by those who want to exploit their ignorance.

  3. phyllissnipes says:

    One of my favorite pics from our recent Poland tour was that of a lone, empty bookshop in the present Jewish quarter of Krakow. The arch above it is part of the only surviving wall of the Jewish Krakow ghetto. Surreal feeling to see it, as a librarian dedicated to the purpose of books!! Love this post!

  4. Citizen Tom says:

    Christianity was essential for the revolution in science, but the invention of the printing press triggered it. At that point it became possible for men to share their thoughts with large numbers of people they had never even met.

    Christianity was also essential for the revolution in the way we govern ourselves, Again, however, the invention of the printing press triggered the revolution. The printing press allowed tens of millions to read the Bible and to share the observations of men like John Locke, Thomas Paine, Adam Smith, Alexis De Tocqueville, and so forth.

    Hence totalitarian regimes, to stifle thoughts of rebellion, have to control who reads what. In fact, in the ideal world of a tyrant, we would spent all our free time either digesting only that information that teaches us to worship our Dear Leader or in the actual worship of the Dear Leader. This is something anyone who thinks heaven might be boring may wish to contemplate.

  5. Tricia says:

    Wow Julie, this really struck me as so relevant to today’s world. I think the indoctrination going on in our schools is a form of knowledge looting in perhaps a more frightening way. The erasure of the goodness of western civilization and America in general is being done right under our very noses and is seen as legitimate in many circles.

    Doesn’t bode well for the future I would say.

  6. oneta hayes says:

    Sounds very interesting. I will be watching, reading, and learning.

  7. SLIMJIM says:

    Man that book sounds interesting…what was its title again?

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