During the six years of war the whole of the civilized world followed with the greatest anxiety the news concerning the fate of continental libraries. It has happened twice in the lifetime of our generation that not only human beings were killed, destroyed, and dispersed but also their silent friends—books. We became quite used to the phrase so frequently heard in the news: ‘Owing to shell‐fire or air‐bombardment a hospital, a church, or a library has been destroyed or severely damaged.’ I thought on such occasions: ‘Just like Louvain …’—as I never forgot the deep shock I experienced in my youth on hearing the tragic news of the destruction of this famous Belgian library.
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