Censorship In The Book Thief

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Adolf Hitler used censorship to control how the Jewish people were perceived. Along with spreading propaganda, Nazis also burned books (Lewy). Markus Zusak’s novel The Book Thief explores the idea of censorship and the power of words during Nazi Germany. The censored material the protagonist Liesel Meminger read is perhaps one of the books that influenced her the most. The novel The Shoulder Shrug helped her understand the world around her, and changed what she thought of the Jewish. The Book Thief illustrates how a dominant culture can use censorship to control how minorities are seen. Censorship by Nazis began with the book burnings of 1933 done by the Hitler Youth. They would gather material from libraries and schools, and burn the books …show more content…

According to Harmful and Undesirable by Guenter Lewy, “Hitler had argued in Mein Kampf that the Jews had “poisoned German culture,” including literature, and had “wrecked all the conceptions of beauty and dignity” (101). Words were important for Liesel. She stated, “I have hated the words and I have loved them” (Zusak 528). She hated the words because a powerful word “communism” had tore her away from her mother. She loved the words because they connected her with her friend Max Vandenburg. However, words also separated them when Max, a Jewish man had to leave the Hubermann’s home in fear he would be found. It was Hitler’s words and his believes that had brought Liesel and her friend apart. Thus, Liesel knew how powerful words are. “The words. Why did they have to exist? Without them, there wouldn’t be any of this. Without words, the Führer was nothing...What good were the words?” Liesel realized how words made Hitler powerful. She hated Hitler and his power. She hated him because he took her mother and her friend Max away.
The Book Thief how a dominant culture can use censorship to control how others are seen. By censoring books Hitler stopped questions from arising about his beliefs, and controlled how the Jewish were perceived. The censored book The Shoulder Shrug changed how Liesel saw the world around her, broadening and changing her point of view. Until that point, Liesel had not

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