I spent much of the last four days with my ninety-five-year-old cousin Helen Fagin, who is a holocaust survivor and was professor of the holocaust at the University of Miami for some time, and a wonderful, remarkable woman, and she was telling me about when she was in the Rodomsko ghetto in 1942. She had been at Krakow University until the war interrupted her studies, so she was assigned in the ghetto to teach younger kids she would have been nineteen, maybe twenty), and in order to assert normality, these ten-or-eleven-year-olds would come in the morning and she would teach them Latin and algebra and things that she was uncertain that they would have any use for, but she would teach them. And one night she was given copy of the Polish translation of Gone with the Wind, and she explains this is significant in that books were banned. Books were banned by the Nazis in an incredibly efficient way, which was if they found you with a book they would put a gun against your head and shoot you. Books were very, very banned, and she was given a copy of Gone with the Wind. And each night she would draw the curtains and put the blackout in place and read, with a tiny light, two or three chapters, losing valuable sleep time, so that the next morning when the kids came in she could tell them the story of what she read, and that was all they wanted. And for an hour every day they got away. They got out of the Radomsko ghetto. Most of those kids went on to the camps. She says that she tracked them all later and discovered that four - of the dozens of kids she taught - had survived. When she told me that it made me rethink what I do and made me rethink the nature of escapist fiction, because I thought actually it gave them an escape, just there, just then. And it was worth risking death for.
-- Neil Gaiman, speech at the International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts, Orlando, Florida, 2013