The Remota holdings are often referred to as the poison cabinet or literary poison cabinet. This alludes to the duty of pharmacies , hospitals, schools and doctors not to simply store particularly toxic and dangerous substances, but to keep them under special locks. Above all, erotic literature and socially critical , political literature were withheld from the reading public. Due to social liberalization, the Remota today contain only a few pornographic and extremist writings.
In earlier times the care was only entrusted to a stable librarian of the older age group, who came from an orderly family background, as it was expected of him that he would not be morally shaken by this task, which was considered important, or that he would not do anything illegal.
In the libraries of Catholic institutions and in areas where Catholicism was influential, readers were regularly deprived of the books listed in the Librorum Prohibitorum Index . The index, inspired by the Roman Inquisition in the 16th century, recorded around 6,000 works when it was abolished in 1966. This included religious, philosophical, and political works that were classified as incompatible with Catholic teaching, as well as works that were sexually or erotically oriented. These books were sometimes burned or damaged . In particular, writings with religious heresies were often kept in order to be able to access them for scientific purposes. Such books were mostly kept in closed areas, for example by monastery libraries, and permission had to be obtained from a higher authority for their use.
In 1819 the Karlsbad resolutions with their censorship regulations , which were directed against democratic aspirations, led to book bans and thus to numerous remotes. With or without laws, works of erotic content were almost always locked away in all areas for moral reasons, as they were understood at the time.
During the Weimar Republic there was no censorship, only the very liberal law to protect young people from trash and dirty writing from 1926 led to some segregation, especially of pornographic works.
In the young Federal Republic of Germany , a large number of books and magazines were indexed by the law on the dissemination of writings harmful to minors , which applied very strict standards especially to erotic literature, and thus to Remota. The law on the dissemination of writings harmful to minors was later toned down and, as a youth protection act , affects far fewer works today . It was tightened in the 1980s with regard to writings that glorify violence.
For political reasons, there were large Remota stocks in the GDR .
The question of whether Remota are also recorded by the general library catalog so that their existence is generally known or whether they can only be traced using special directories that are only accessible on request is handled differently.
Violation of personal rights
Books that are not allowed to be distributed because a court has legally established that they violate a person's personal rights are locked away. They can then only be viewed for scientific purposes. One example is the novel Esra , whose ban has been upheld by the Federal Constitutional Court .
Security and the fight against crime
In some cases, specialized criminal literature, such as police manuals, is locked away so that criminals cannot find out about particularly successful criminal inspections or analyze the police's investigation techniques. Only judicial officers and the police, not criminals, should be trained with this knowledge. Even books about the construction of bombs, the manufacture of explosives or poison gases were often transferred to the Remota area after the emergence of terrorism in the 1970s.
- Hendrik Werner: In the poison cabinet, porn, Nazis, hateful thoughts: Thousands of forbidden works are still stored in German university libraries , in Die Welt from February 1, 2008, page 27.
- Index Librorum Prohibitorum
- Distribution ban
- Enfer , a Remota collection of the Bibliothèque nationale de France
- Stephan Kellner: Remota - A look into the poison cabinet ( Memento from July 28, 2004 in the Internet Archive ). In: Aviso, year 2002, edition 3, pages 40–41 about an exhibition on the Remota of the Bavarian State Library in Munich (PDF file; 10 kB)
- Banned Books Week of the American Library Association (Engl.)