Page 18 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 28

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J
e w i s h
B
o o k
A
n n u a l
12
were transferred from the Church to the secular authority of the
state. This takeover resulted in severe censorship in many Euro*
pean states, in response to the awakening awareness of the intel-
lectual community of writers and poets in political and social
affairs. We find many Jewish writers on this new list of the state.
Some had converted to Christianity: Moritz Gottlieb Saphir (1795־
1858), Ludwig Borne (1786-1837), Heinrich Heine (1797-1856).
Heine’s
De L ’Allemagne, De La France, Reiseb ilder
and
Neue
Gedichte
appeared in the Church
Index.
In Austria, where Joseph
II promulgated on June 11, 1871, the
Grundregeln
(Basic Regu-
lations) to guide the state’s censor, many Jewish writers were im-
prisoned and expelled from the country for their liberal ideas.
Among them were Moritz Hartmann (1821-1872), whose poems
Bohmische Elegien
contained recognizable socialist themes, and
Ludwig August Frankl, secretary of the Jewish community in
Vienna (1810-1894), whose drama
Rudo lf von der Wart
printed
in the
Aurora
insulted the Hapsburgs and whose
Don Juan of
Austria
was printed in Leipzig in 1846 without a permit from
the Vienna censor.
Heine and Borne, living in exile in Paris, sent their works to
their native land. When published in Germany, however, they
were banned and confiscated by the state. A ll of Heine’s poems and
prose works were denied publication rights in Prussia and Bavaria,
on the grounds that the author, having made his home in France,
was a cosmopolite and therefore a traitor to his Fatherland.
The censorship of Jewish books attained a horrifying climax
during the Nazi era in Germany (1933-1944). Innumerable scien-
tific and literary works in Hebrew, Yiddish, and other languages
written by or about Jews were destroyed in a conflagration that
consumed the works of the greatest minds of that unhappy coun-
try. The tyranny which so feared the truth discovered that it could
not be eliminated through bookburning.5
Censorship within Jewish Life
Censorship as an institution was never integral to Jewish life.
Whatever self-censorship prevailed differed substantially from that
imposed by the non-Jewish world. A ban of a book by a rabbi or a
rabbinical court was not automatically binding on other Jewish
communities. The rabbis of other communities could and often
did reject the ban. Placing a book in
herem
(banning its use)
was not lightly undertaken since its validity could be questioned
and even countered with a
herem aderabba
(a reciprocal b a n ) .
This procedure reveals how exceedingly difficult it was to repress
freedom of thought in Jewish life. Censorship was not tolerated
without a struggle.
6Ibid., pp. xxiv f.