Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Paper Salvage: Mein Kampf

The wartime paper shortages were not always without their comedy, as with this image from Britain, which crossed the Atlantic to be published in the New York Times in November 1941. Paper salvage drives were routine across Britain, where "sorters" looked through the great tonnes of books to make sure that nothing considered valuable was lost. It's easy to imagine that this would have been a rather grim business, but equally, not without its chances for comedy. This photograph, for example, is rather cheeky, as the sorters lounge on a pile of copies of Mein Kampf, donated as waste paper. Although not quite a book burning, it's quite clear that the pulping machines have a certain charm. And it's absolutely certain that the machines were considered fascinating: they were often set up in town squares or the like, so that the good burghers could wander past for a look. Bands and speeches were not, of course, considered good form.

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