Exhibition on Nazi Book Burnings Opens Oct. 27 at Mansfield Library

October 20, 2014

MISSOULA – The Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library at the University of Montana will host an exhibition produced by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum that explores how the German book burnings of 1933 became a potent symbol in America’s battle against Nazism and why they continue to resonate with the public to this day.

The exhibition, titled “Fighting the Fires of Hate: America and the Nazi Book Burnings,” will be on display from Monday, Oct. 27, through Tuesday, Dec. 16. It is free and open to the public during regular library operating hours.

On May 10, 1933, university students across Nazi Germany burned thousands of books in an ominous “cleansing” of the "un-German spirit” from German culture. Writings by scores of German and foreign authors, including Helen Keller, Ernest Hemingway and Sigmund Freud, were destroyed. Americans quickly condemned the events as hostile to the spirit of democracy and the freedom of expression.

The Mansfield Library also will host several events related to the exhibition. The schedule follows:

  • 5-7 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 28: “Special Event for Educators: How Educators Can Fight Censorship and Save Books” with Beverly Chin, director of the English Teaching Program. Mansfield Library East Faculty Office Area.
  • 5-6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 30: Opening reception for “Fighting the Fires of Hate” exhibition. Gallagher Business Building Room 122.
  • 6-7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 30: “The Threat of the Printed Word: Book Burning in Nazi Germany” with Peter Staudenmaier, professor of history, Marquette University. Gallagher Business Building Room 122.
  • 5:30-7 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 4: “Thought Control, Book Burning and Human Rights” with Paul Lauren, UM Regents Professor of History. University Center Theater.
  • 7-8:30 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 5:  "Do Words Kill? Hate Speech, Propaganda and Incitement to Genocide" produced by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. Elizabeth White, research director of the Center for the Prevention of Genocide at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Q&A Moderated by Larry Abramson, dean of the UM School of Journalism. Presented in partnership with DiverseU and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. UC Theater.
  • 5:30-7 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 12: “Cinematic Responses to the Shoah” with Clark Chatlain. Gallagher Business Building Room 122.
  • 5:30-7 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 20: “Book Burning and Civil Discourse” with Mark Hanson, UM liberal studies lecturer. Gallagher Business Building Room 122.
  • 5:30-7 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 4: “Black Fire on White Fire: Sacred Text in Jewish Tradition” with Laurie Franklin, adjunct assistant professor and faculty affiliate, UM Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, spiritual leader and Rabbinic intern, Har Shalom. UC Theater.
  • 6-10 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 11: “Grand Illusion: Too Real for the Nazis,” lecture and screening with Phil Fandozzi, UM professor of film studies. UC Theater.

“This is a wonderful opportunity to share a nationally produced exhibition that explores issues of book burning and censorship,” said Julie Biando Edwards, associate professor at the Mansfield Library. “Our related programs will help deepen the experience of the exhibition and we are grateful to all of our presenters for their participation.” For more information and a schedule of events please visit http://exhibits.lib.umt.edu/fightingfires.

The exhibition was underwritten in part by grants from The Bernard Osher Jewish Philanthropies Foundation of the Jewish Community Endowment Fund and The Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation, with additional support from the Lester Robbins and Sheila Johnson Robbins Traveling and Special Exhibitions Fund.

The exhibition’s display at UM is made possible with generous support from Humanities Montana, UM’s Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library, the Davidson Honors College, the College of Humanities and Sciences, the Diversity Advisory Council, and in partnership with the departments of history, English, political science, sociology, and liberal studies, as well as the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, the Global Leadership Initiative, the UC Art Gallery, the UC Theater, the Montana Human Rights Network and the Missoula Public Library.


Contact: Julie Biando Edwards, associate professor, UM Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library, 406-243-4505, julie.edwards@mso.umt.edu.