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Germany Commemorates Book-burning

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Recalling a sinister prelude to the Holocaust, several cities throughout Germany on Monday held ceremonies to observe the 60th anniversary of the first Nazi book-burning, in which books by such authors as Ernest Hemingway, Franz Kafka and Sigmund Freud were torched.

In Berlin’s Opera Square, where the book-burning began, German Jewish writer Stefan Heym read from the work of British writer Salman Rushdie, a secular Moslem whose work provoked the late Iranian cleric Ayatollah Khomeini to issue a death warrant against him.

“Freedom of speech is everything,” the 80-year-old Heym quoted from Rushdie, who today lives in hiding.

The northern port city of Rostock, which gained notoriety last year for a series of violent racist incidents, had invited members of the Israeli Knesset to its commemoration.

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