Time’s running out to see the exhibition "Fighting the Fires of Hate: America and the Nazi Book Burnings” at the Gonzaga University Foley Center library. The traveling exhibition, created by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, runs through May 5 at Gonzaga.
The exhibition focuses on a symbol of the Nazi Party less well-known than the swastika or jackboot -- fire. Flames and fire accompanied the Third Reich from its beginning to its very end. On Jan. 30, 1933, torchlight parades led the way at the beginning of the Nazi Revolution; within months, flames had destroyed the Weimar Constitution. On May 10, the same year, hoards of German university students sympathetic to the Nazis launched the "Action Against the Un-German Spirit," turning works by Sinclair Lewis, Karl Marx, Ernest Hemingway, and scores of others into ashes.
The nationwide book burning was taken as a gross offense by Americans as it violated the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. As World War II progressed, President Franklin D. Roosevelt continuously evoked the memory of the fires fueled by books to remind Americans of the differences between democratic America and Nazi Germany.
The exhibition includes displays of period artifacts, documents and news coverage, along with film, video, and newsreel footage. It also examines the post-World War II years, exploring how the Nazi book burnings have affected American life, politics, literature, and popular culture.
For more information about this exhibit, visit the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum at its Web site; or visit the Web site for the Gonzaga Institute for Action Against Hate.