1953 March 7

Lewd Pictures, Movies, and Books Burned in Newark, NJ


The Newark, New Jersey, police and fire departments on this day publicly burned allegedly obscene photographs, movies, and books, with an estimated retail value of over $100,000. Forty members of the clergy, civic leaders, and PTA officials attended the burning as guests of the police and fire department. Public Safety Director John B. Keenan declared it “a good idea to show that this stuff was actually destroyed.

Organizers of the burning seemed oblivious to the parallel between their event and the notorious Nazi book burning campaign in Germany in the 1930s and 1940s. For other shocking instances of the burning of books in post-World War II America, see May 13, 1946, December 10, 1948, August 23, 1956, and November 10, 1973.

Learn more: Haig A Bosmajian, Burning Books (2006)

Learn more about Nazi book burning: http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10005852

Learn about book burning in history: http://mentalfloss.com/article/50038/11-book-burning-stories-will-break-your-heart

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