Professor Ellsworth Huntington of Yale University has just practically ruined his future in Germany. The noted New Haven anthropologist never will be able to sell any of his works in the land of the purge and the grave. Not after Hanfstaengl, Hitler’s foreign press watchman when he isn’t playing the piano, trains his spy glass on the following item from the Nutmeg State:
“The Jews driven out of the country average higher in intelligence than the Germans that remain there. By their anti-Semitic policy, the Germans are driving out some of their most able people, not only able Jews, but a great many Germans, particularly from her universities. To that extent she is weakening herself.”
In a few days or so, as soon as Hanfy has recovered from the shockâ€”these American college men have been giving him so many headaches latelyâ€”the press will carry a small item, stuck away somewhere in what’s known as the newspaper’s steerage, as follows:
“Berlin.â€”All books written by Professor Ellsworth Huntington of Yale University have been banned throughout Germany by order of Reichsfuehrer Hitler as being a menace to the safety and morals of the nation.”
However, if the average German is anything like the average American, such a ban will serve perhaps to stimulate a new interest in the suppressed author’s works.
Almost every book that was ever frowned upon by an American censor and banned by an American court has invariably attained the best-seller class, whether deservedly or not. In the land of the plebiscite, however, where voters are allowed to vote only the “ja” ticket, devotion to suppressed literature has probably not yet reached such intense proportions.
After all, in America, if one is caught reading a banned volume, one is merely given a dig in the ribs. The dig is then followed by a request that you “lend the book to me will yah? I’ll finish it in one sitting.” And if a bookseller is caught selling it, he sometimes gets “tut-tutted” by a judge who takes the volume home and reads it from cover to cover.
But reading and selling suppressed books in Germany is probably something else again. Possession of a book by Einstein on “The World as I See It” would be classed as prima facie evidence that the possessor was plotting the downfall of Hitler. Getting caught with Huntington’s “The Character of Races” or the “Pulse of Progress” would land the reader in a concentration camp or on the gallows.
All of which leads one to wonder just what Germans of today are reading. Practically every one of the topnotch German authors is verboten. This whole suppression business is probably a plot of Goebbels to force everyone into buying a copy of Hitler’s “Mein Kampf.” But even if they have been forced into buying copies of Hitler’s chef d’oeuvre, the Germans haven’t made the thing their Bible yet.
Speaking or books reminds us of a once popular pastime that seems to have dropped from ken: If you were cast away on a desert island, which ten books would you like to have with you?
How many Germans today, if they had that question put to them, would pick “Mein Kampf” above, say, any one of the books they have been verboten to read?
And speaking of desert islands, if you had your choice, which ten anti-Semites would you like to see shipwrecked together on some ocean rock pile?
Our choice would be as follows:
From Germany: Hitler, Goering, Goebbels, Streicher.
From England: Sir Oswald Mosley.
From Rumania: Professor Cuza and his song.
From Greece: Eleutherios Venizelos.
From America: Congressman McFadden and Louis Zahne (our latest anti-Semitic crush)
After they got through cursing the fate (probably Jewish) that cast them away, they’d have nothing left to do but go to work on each other. How it would all end is something that simply staggers the imagination. The Day Booker turns faint at the very thought.