Benjamin's Reviews > Bücher aus dem Schutt
Bücher aus dem Schutt
This short history of Vienna's public libraries in the years 1945-1950 fascinated me. After the censorship imposed by both the Austro-fascists and their Nazi successors, the libraries were nearly empty and what they did have was a lot of evil garbage. Turns out, the censored books were often in the abandoned apartments of the Nazis who had confiscated them. But then the libraries had to keep those books "safe" in case their supposed owners asked for them back! More harsh, but less crazy, is the plight of the librarians themselves, volunteering and eking out a living in the rubble. There is one story in here about how the patrons at a certain branch wrote the city government asking them to buy the librarian a new suit of clothes because the only one he had was getting threadbare and stank. The publishers were also just recovering from the dictatorship and the war so it was extra-hard to get new books and there were some interesting arguments about who gets to use the good paper. This book reawakened my interest in the International Committee of the Blue Shield.
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