This is the rough draft of a letter that Helen Keller wrote to the Student body of Germany when the Nazis order the burning of her book, How I Became a Socialist. (With a title like that, I would imagine there’s some present day turds who would also want to burn it.) The letter is stored in the Helen Keller Archival collection at the American Foundation for the Blind.
What’s so fascinating about this is that, probably because of the film, the Miracle Worker, we think of Keller as a kind of passive entity. The reality is that she was a ball-busting bad-ass.
If the letter is difficult to read, here’s the transcription:
May 9, 1933
To the Student Body of Germany
History has taught you nothing if you think you can kill ideas. Tyrants have tried to do that often before, and the ideas have risen up in their might and destroyed them.
You can burn my books and the books of the best minds in Europe but the ideas in them have seeped through a million channels, and will continue to quicken other minds. I gave all the royalties of my books to the soldiers blinded in the World War with no thought in my heart but love and compassion for the German people.
Do not imagine your barbarities to the Jews are unknown here. God sleepeth not, and He will visit His Judgment upon you. Better were it for you to have a mill-stone hung round your neck and sink into the sea than to be hated and despised of all men.
American Foundation for the Blind: Helen Keller’s Words…Still Powerful 80 Years Later http://www.afb.org/blog.aspx?BlogID=7&BlogEntryID=723