The invention of book printing and the mass dissemination of information gave rise to the desire to control what was printed. The Reformation, which used the technological advance to print leaflets, led to new dimensions in censorship. The Catholic Church’s lists of censored works – the “Index”, which was published from 1559 to 1948 – were a comprehensive attempt to control the book market. 

Publishers were punished, books were burned and authors murdered, as the long arm of the censors reached into every corner of the production of written works. Authors used camouflaged publications and underground writings to escape censorship. And while the German Basic Law states that “there shall be no censorship”, it is nevertheless still a part of everyday life in many parts of the world.