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Student Activities:

  • 1.

    What was the United States’ relationship with Germany in 1918?

  • 2.

    Why did the perpetrators want the Baraboo High School German textbooks burned?

What might they have feared? What might they have hoped to achieve?

3. The book burners wrote “Here lies the remains of German in B.H.S.” in the street next to the books’ ashes. What is the symbolism of the opening phrase? Why might the book burners have left a message in the street?

4. Does censorship weaken, strengthen, or have no effect on the appeal of the ideas contained in the books that are censored? Justify your conclusion with “Because…” statements.

5. The U.S. Constitution guarantees freedom of speech. Are there any circumstances in which censorship of speech, such as book burning, are justified? Why?

6. Why was Prof. Schimler kidnapped, tarred, and feathered? What evidence is given in the article to support your explanation?

  • 7.

    The professor was abducted in the night by a group of masked men. Where else in the

    • U.

      S. were other types of individuals abducted and tortured by groups of masked men in the

period 18901920? [teachers: lynchings of African Americans] What are the similarities with this case? What are the differences?

8. Identify the point of view in the Ashland Daily Press article. Can you detect explicit or implicit bias for or against Prof. Schimler? Can you detect bias for or against the vigilante group? Support your answer with words and phrases from the article.

9. The article’s penultimate paragraph is headed “An American Citizen” and ends with the sentence, “The college authorities say that Professor Schimler has been a very efficient teacher and that there is absolutely no evidence that he was disloyal in words or actions.” What implicit assumptions do these statements address? Do you think the masked men’s acts might have been justified if he were not a U.S. citizen or had indeed been “disloyal”?

8th Grade Standards Addressed: 8.1, 8.2, 8.3, 8.4, 8.5, 8.6, 8.10

12th Grade Standards Addressed: 12.1, 12.4, 12.5


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