"History has taught you nothing if you think you can kill ideas. Tyrants have tried to do that often before, and the ideas have risen up to their might and destroyed them." (Helen Keller)
In May of 1933, students gathered in Berlin and held a giant bonfire with some of the most influential books of the 20th century as tinder. Authors like Albert Einstein, Sigmund Freud, Victor Hugo, Ernest Hemingway and Leo Tolstoy were all in the pile, as well as a book by Helen Keller.
The latter, rendered deaf and blind by a childhood disease, attended the Perkins Institute and learned how to speak, read and write. After graduating from Radcliffe College, Keller started to write books and take on political causes. She joined the socialist Party in 1909. During the Great War, she penned a book called How I Became a Socialist, donating the royalties from her book to soldiers rendered blind on the battlefield.
Mark Twain described Helen Keller as "one of the two most interesting characters of the nineteenth century" (https://www.questia.com/magazine/1G1-91659890/how-i-became-a-socialist). It is appropriate that the other interesting character was Napoleon, a dictator. It was another dictator, Hitler, whom Keller took exception to when she found out that her book was burned in Berlin in 1933.
The authoress took out her typewriter and pounded out a letter addressed to Adolf Hitler, Berlin, Germany (http://www.afb.org/blog/afb-blog/helen-kellers-words-80-years-later…-still-as-powerful/1)
"History has taught you nothing if you think you can kill ideas. Tyrants have tried to do that often before, and the ideas have risen up to their might and destroyed them.
You can burn my books and the books of the best minds in Europe, but the ideas in them have seeped through a million channels, and will continue to quicken other minds. I gave all the rights to my books to the soldiers blinded in the world war with no thought in my heart but love and compassion.
Do not imagine that your barbarities to the Jews are unknown. God sleepeth not and He will visit his judgment upon you as surely as upon the wicked kings of Judea who defied His Word. Better would it if you have a millstone hung around your neck and sink into the sea than to be hated and despised by all men."
It would take a little girl from Alabama, deafened and blinded by Scarlet Fever, to stand up to Adolf Hitler. If only we all had such inner strength.
Helen Keller at Radcliffe College courtesy www.kellerfoundation.org.