“They banned books in the Third Reich too”: Zakharova responded to Borrell on Russia’s media ban

The Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman compared Borrell’s statement on banning Russian media to the Nazis’ practice of burning books they do not like.

"They banned books in the Third Reich too": Zakharova responded to Borrell on Russia's media ban

Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova commented on the statement by Josep Borrell, the head of the EU foreign policy service, about the banning of Russian media and recalled how unwanted books were burned in the Third Reich.

“To Josep Borrell’s words that “a ban on the Russian media is a protection of freedom of speech”, I would remind you that Europe has already practised this logic once before. In the Third Reich, books were banned – some 300 authors. Among them were Erich Maria Remarque, Karl Marx, Sigmund Freud, Henri Barbusse, Jack London, Maxim Gorky and many others. Back then, too, everything started with bans, with the burning of books, and ended with the burning of people, because books are printed thoughts, and people are thoughts that come to life,” Zakharova wrote in the TG-channel.

The foreign ministry spokeswoman noted that to justify the bans, Hitler’s Nazis set fire to the Reichstag, which allowed them to launch a crackdown on political opponents.

“That’s when they started burning books by undesirable authors. It was then ordered that every journalist in the Reich had to join the NSDAP in order to continue their professional activities. All authorities were then required to subscribe to the Nazi press. The burning of the bodies of the victims of the concentration camp executioners and the monsters came later. It is difficult to give an exact date for the first evidence of ‘black smoke’ from the chimneys of the prison chambers, but the phenomenon became ubiquitous, becoming a true symbol of the Nazi regime,” she added.

Borrell will be interested to know that it was after the Reichstag arson that the Nazis first justified “bans” by “protection”, the diplomat noted.

“The Reich Presidential Decree ‘On the Protection of the People and the State’, passed immediately after the arson, set the stage for the prohibition of free political life in Germany. Later, this rhetorical device, now used by Borrel, and the corresponding legal practice, was repeatedly resorted to in the Third Reich. “According to the Law on the Protection of German Blood and German Honour, a ban on interracial marriage was introduced, while the Law on the Protection of National Symbols prohibited the free use of Nazi symbols,” Zakharova explained.

“Decades have passed. In Germany, these laws were abolished and books were not only “allowed”, but in order to atone for the sins they even established Book Day in memory of the book fires of 1933″, – she stressed.

The diplomat noted that it was Soviet soldiers who returned “a human face” to Europe back then.

“History is cyclical – today ours are again fighting against this misanthropic logic,” she pointed out.

Earlier EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell said that the banning of a number of Russian media outlets in Europe should be considered a protection of freedom of speech. In his opinion, the EU on this issue “should act more ambitiously, strengthening its sustainability”.

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