Monday, November 10, 2008

Paper Salvage: Germany 1943

I've not read much about paper shortages in Germany during the Second World War, but there's every reason to expect that the production of paper was a serious concern -- certainly by the end of the war there was a marked deterioration in paper used in cheap publishing, with many books of this period printed on thin, grey, brittle stock. This poster, for a paper salvage drive in April 1943, certainly confirms that it was a serious issue for the Nazi government, and for that matter, that paper drives in all countries were targetted at children. It does seem unusual that the children depicted here are in casual clothes rather than Hitler Youth uniforms. It's also worth pointing out that while newspapers are evidently the main focus, that the likely looking lad in the front does have a book tucked under his arm -- although book pulping represented a significant proportion of paper pulping, it is uncommon to see it directly alluded to in advertising.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Burning of the Library of Algiers

I was recently contacted by Larry T. Nix, who shared with me a page he has prepared on a selection of philatelic items which commemorate the burning of the Library in Algiers in 1962. The burning was part of a series of attacks made on social and cultural centres in Algeria by the militant OAS as part of their violent resistance to Algerian self rule: the library and the surrounding campus of the University of Algiers were set alight by the detonation of phosphorus bombs in early June 1962.

Although I’ve not seen exact figures, it’s clear that this resulted in serious losses to the Library, and it’s interesting, in this light, that it is the burning of the Library which continues to have the greatest resonance. As Larry’s page shows (, the burning of the Library has been commemorated across the Middle East, although it is probably fair to say that the attack is not as well known in the West.