He who destroyes a good Booke, kills reason it selfe

an exhibition of books which have survived Fire, the Sword and the Censors

University of Kansas Library 1955

Foreword ] Prelims ] England ] [ Germany ] Russia ] France ] Spain ] United States ] Various Countries ] Afterword ]


Der Censor, oder: Beweis, dass die Büchercensur und alle Einschränkungen des Büchergewerbes ... höchst nachteilige Veranstaltungen sind.... Frankfurt und Leipzig, 1775.* An anonymous protest against the censor, containing a mixture of strange and useful information, including a tale of how Faust, the first bookseller, was accused of being leagued with the Devil because he sold printed Bibles cheaper than manuscripts. More to the point are the names of several well-known writers of the day who were then under censure: Voltaire, La Mettrie, and Bayle. The copy shown here is from the library of Victor Ehrenberg.

[FEZER, JOHANN JACOB] Wahrscheinlichkeiten, von einem unpartheyischen Beobachter entworfen. Philadelphia [i.e., Wien, Wucherer] 1785.* Despite the American imprint this book is really of Viennese origin. The author signs his foreword: "Written at Kosmopel, in January 1785.-e-e-." The three sections of the book concern economics, tolerance, and censorship. In the last part, a strong plea is made for at least the certainty of just laws rather than the prejudice of an irresponsible individual to decide what is to be printed.

SCHILLER, FRIEDRICH von. Die Räuber. Leipzig, A. Weigel, 1905. A facsimile is shown of the first edition, Frankfurt and Leipzig, 1781. This was apparently actually printed by Johann Benedikt Metzler at Stuttgart. Schiller was at the time a medical student, barely in his 20's, at the Karlsschule in Stuttgart. Getting his play on the stage at Mannheim, he left without permission to attend the performance. For this he received two weeks' arrest and serious orders from the Duke of Württemberg not to publish anything more than his medical studies—above all, to have nothing more to do with foreign parts—sixty miles away. His answer was to flee from the Duke's domains, at real peril to his life. Even during printing, Schiller had dropped suspicious references to the revolutionary Milton. The play itself, in its first performance, was considerably changed. "Das Gesetz hat noch keinen grossen Mann gebildet, aber die Freiheit brütet Kolosse und Extremitäten aus" became "Der Friede hat noch keinen grossen Mann gebildet, aber der Krieg brütet Kolosse und Helden aus!" From this inauspicious beginning, Schiller's work crept on in its own special war. It was 1850 before anything resembling the original play could be produced at the Burgtheater in Vienna. Even the title was taboo: Carl Moor passed the censor much more often than Die Räuber. While Francis II reigned as Emperor (1792-1835), the censors could even object to the line: "Franz heisst die Canaille?", on grounds it might be taken as a play on His Majesty's name. And while The Robbers was generally forbidden in all but cut versions, a drama about its exciting origin, Heinrich Laube's Karlsschüller, was stopped by the censor in only two cities, and in one of these, Vienna, it opened two years before its spiritual ancestor.

SCHLEGEL, KARL WILHELM FRIEDRICH von. Gedichte, Berlin, J. E. Hitzig, 1809.* Because of censorship, this first edition of Schlegel's collected poems exists in two states. In one, the nationalistic poem "Gelübde," listed in the table of contents as on p. 387, was taken out by the censors. In the other, shown here, the text is present.

MUEHLBOECK, Click here for a more detailed imageJOSEF. Wendelin von Hollenstein; oder, Die Todtenglocke um Mitternacht. Romantisches Schauspiel in 3 Akten. MS., an example of the handwritten copy of a play which had to be presented to the censor for approval in the European theater of a century ago. On the front cover is the permit from the censor of Linz, dated 25 October 1841. The back has the signed and sealed license from the censor of Prague, 14 December 1851.

Click here for a more detailed image








HEINE, HEINRICH. "Die Lorelei" from Buch der Lieder, 1827. Heine's troubles with the censor began as early as 1835, when his membership in the Young Germany movement led to his being forbidden to publish with other members of that group. He went to Paris, sponsored by a fund for political refugees. Between 1836 and 1845, the Index listed his De la France, Reisebilder, De l'Allemagne, and Neue Gedichte. In 1951, they still remained listed. Although Heine's acceptance of Christianity had preceded the publication of "Die Lorelei" by at least two years, the Nazis banned his works. Owing to the household popularity of "Die Lorelei," however, they found it necessary in 1939 to permit the song of the mermaid as an anonymous classic. In 1954, the Russians in East Berlin banned all works by Heine.

HEINE, HEINRICH, Atta Troll, ein Sommernachtstraum. Hamburg, Bei Ludwig Giese, 1847.* Because of the increased suspicion in the ranks of the Prussian censorship, both of works of Heine, whose Neue Gedichte had attracted their attention in 1844, and also of the publishers, Hoffmann und Campe, whose numerous political publications had been forbidden one after the other, the issuing of Atta Troll appeared extremely hazardous. The firm resorted to using the name of another publisher, Ludwig Giese, a cover which had been used the same year to continue the second part of a work on Austria by Baron Viktor von Andrian-Werburg, after Austrian censors objected to the first part. The object in both cases was to sell as many copies as possible before injunctions against the fictitious firm could find their way back to Hoffmann und Campe. In Heine's case, the precaution proved unnecessary. Even the Hamburg censor found only two objectionable references to royalty, and one was left standing. The work did not arouse any special attention from the Prussian censors.

HEBBEL, FRIEDRICH. Genoveva. Eine Tragödie in fünf Acten. Hamburg, bei Hoffmann und Campe, 1843.* Note that this play appears in Hoffmann and Campe's advertisement in Heine's Atta Troll. (q.v.) Both books were printed by H. G. Voigt. Unlike the case with Heine's work, no trouble was met in the Hamburg publication. But when Hebbel wanted to stage his play in Vienna in 1845 the theatrical censor objected to the mentioning of objects of worship such as saints or crucifixes on the stage. It was 1854 and many revisions later before the play, changed even in its title and characters, appeared at the Burgtheater as Magellona. One of the original censors, Count Lanckoronski, remarked that the final version had only "some similarity" to a vaguely reminiscent draft of Genoveva which he had seen eighteen months before.

STIRNER, MAX, pseud. (i.e. Kaspar Schmidt) The Ego and his Own. New York, B. R. Tucker, 1907. This work first appeared at Leipzig, 1844, under the title, Der Einzige und sein Eigentum, published by Otto Wigand. Its frank espousal of anarchistic egoism led to the not unexpected announcement in the newspapers of Saxony that the book had been immediately confiscated in Leipzig. Anxious not to be outdone, where usually they were so far ahead, Prussia banned the book. Then, Berlin received more accurate news: the book had not been banned in Saxony at all. In fact, the book's farfetched overstatement was regarded at Dresden as its own best antidote. The small states of Germany fell into line, on one side or the other, often with considerable difficulty owing to the scarcity of copies to examine first.

PRUTZ, ROBERT EDUARD. Moritz von Sachsen, Trauerspiel in fünf Ahten. Zürich und Winterthur, Verlag des literarischen Comptoirs, 1845.* This printing contains an appendix, with the correspondence relating to the suppression of the play in the theaters of Prussia in 1844. The reason, as given by a minister of the royal house, was that "plays in which persons related to the royal house are represented shall not be produced in theaters of the realm." The person in question was apparently the Markgraf Albrecht von Culmbach. Striking him out in accordance with the rule did no good. Frederick William IV still "had not found himself moved to permit the production of the tragedy." Prutz wrote an angry reply to the king, which remained unanswered, asking if this meant the intermarriage of the ruling houses of Christendom had made one and all relatives of the Prussian house. This edition, with Albrecht restored, was printed at Leipzig by F. A. Brockhaus, and was forbidden as soon as it appeared.

BUSCH, WILHELM. Der heilige Antonius von Padua. Lahr, Verlag von Moritz Schauenburg [1870].* Click here for a more detailed imageAfter having his manuscript refused by the publisher, Eduard Hallberger, in 1864, Busch submitted it to the more daring Moritz Schauenburg. It appeared in this first edition in 1870. The offending final passage in this comic pictorial tale of the pious monk and his porcine companion attracted legal action from the authorities in Baden. The book had appeared at Easter, and was confiscated in August. The publisher omitted the conclusion and charges were dropped. But Prussian police allowed seven printings and then decided the eighth deserved confiscation in Posen in 1878. To Busch this meant he was being sacrificed to provide a small present from Bismarck to the new Pope Leo XIII. Austria banned the book too, but Busch's friends found a unique way to circumvent the exclusion and provide the humorist with a present for his seventieth birthday in 1902. Calling the ban on Der heilige Antonius into parliamentary debate, Rudolf Berger and other members of the Alldeutsche Partei managed to read the entire text into the record. In due time it took its legal place in the Stenographisches Protokoll. Copies of the banned book soon entered Austria with the embarrassing but accurate preface: Text reprinted from the minutes of the House of Representatives.

BERNOULLI, CARL ALBRECHT. Franz Overbeck und Friedrich Nietzsche, eine Freundschaft. Jena, E. Diedrichs, 1908.* After the first volume of this study had been printed suit was brought in 1908 at Weimar to stop publication because of remarks concerning a third party, Peter Gast, mentioned in the correspondence of Overbeck and Nietzsche. A six months' ban was lifted only when Bernoulli agreed to black out the offending passages in the second volume.

MATADORE DER POLITIK [von] O. B. Server, pseud. Berlin, Universitas [1932]. This eleventh hour collection of political caricatures, including a most uncomplimentary one of Hermann Goering, was published foresightedly under an obvious pseudonym. The Nazi bookburnings occurred before the next year was out.

SCHUSCHNIGG, KURT von. Dreimal Österreich. Wien, Thomas-Verlag, 1937.* Former Chancellor of Austria after the assassination of Dollfuss in 1934, Kurt von Schuschnigg was arrested and imprisoned following the Nazi Putsch of March, 1938. His books were suppressed. Liberated in 1945, he has since been a university lecturer in political science in the United States.

DONALD DUCK. March 24, 1954, the New York Times reported that in east Berlin a crowd of boys and girls, described by police as members of the Communist-controlled Free German Youth, hurled some "decadent" United States books into a fire. The officials said that in the fire they found a booklet on the adventures of Donald Duck.



Liste des schädlichen und unerwünschten Schrifttums. 1938.

Jahresliste 1939.

Liste der auszusondernden Literatur. 1946, 1947.

Liste unerwünschten Schrifttums. 1947.

From the Nazi period, the Russian occupied East zone, and a part of Western Germany (Nordrhein-Westfallen) come these lists of books to be removed from libraries. Once restricted, "Nur für den Dienstgebrauch," they are an uncommon addition to the exhibit. These lists form an important bibliography of anti-Nazi, and in turn, pro-Nazi materials. (Lent by the Hamburger Öffentliche Bücherhallen.)

Foreword ] Prelims ] England ] [ Germany ] Russia ] France ] Spain ] United States ] Various Countries ] Afterword ]

Return to Kenneth Spencer Research Library

© University of Kansas Libraries, 1998