Friday, July 03, 2020

Returning books to the Amerika Haus library in November 1989

There was a news item shortly after the East German border was opened on 9 November 1989 that an East Berliner had returned two books to the Amerika Haus Library that he had checked out shortly before the border was closed when Berlin Wall was constructed in August 1961. All the reports and comments on this in the United States made a point of saying that the man was a typical German with his sense of order, but I thought otherwise: imagine how those books had become a symbol to him of the restriction of his freedom of movement, so returning them was a symbol of his having regained that freedom. (Andrew Shields, #111words, 3 July)

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