It might start with burning books, but it ends with piles of corpses. It starts with "purification" of thought and speech, and ends up with secret police enforcing the will of the State. It starts with the self-appointed cultural elite having the "correct" ideas, and becomes a death cult.
On this day 85 years ago, 10 May 1933, the Deutsche Studentenschaft student group staged a massive book burning at the Opera Plaza in Berlin.
photo credit Liz Sheld's PJ Media Morning Briefing]
German Wikipedia pompously explains:
"On May 10, 1933, in National Socialist Germany, book burnings took place as part of an action against the non-German spirit of the German student body. Tens of thousands of books by Jewish, Marxist and pacifist writers were publicly confiscated and burned in 22 university towns, beginning with the Berlin Opera Square. In June 1933, and in the months thereafter, numerous other actions followed. The staging and the cult ritual, the systematics of performance have given this auto-da-fé the rank of uniqueness in the continuity of the historical series from antiquity to the most recent present." [thanks, google translate!]
Side note. The German wiki authors seem to be hedging their bets, striving to place the late National Socialist unpleasantness in a wider historical context. "Continuity of the historical series." See! Even St. Paul condoned burning the books of the pagan sorcerers! Yeah, Acts 19. Hmpf. The big difference, though? The Mages of Ephesus voluntarily converted and brought their own books for destruction.
One thing burning is good for: totalitarians. Kill the beast, cut off its head, burn it, grind the ash and flush it down the sewers.
As Gerard says,
The vampire by sunlight or stake.
The wolfman by silver in bone.
The demon by bell, book, and pentagram.
The fascist by fire alone.