Book burn 1933 in Germany

in the time of the national socialism, of 10. May to 21. June 1933, at many places in Germany publicly books were burned.

With tolerance of the authorities, from which police and fire-brigade even accompanied and care for, burned National Socialist students, SA, SS and its trailers at the opera place in Berlin and many other German university towns approximately 20,000 books than “in an un-German manner” designated authors such as Karl Marx, Heinrich Heine, short Tucholsky, Erich Kästner or victory mouth Freud (see: List of the burned books 1933). This action took place with reference to the book burn during the first waiting castle celebration from 1817.

Book burn was organized 1933 in

Germany the action devised in the surrounding field of the realm propaganda Ministry by the NSDStB and the German studentses, the roof federation at that time of the general student committees (AStA). Since the guidance of both federations it was clear that in the future National Socialist state only one of them would continue, strove both after forces to prove with this spectacular action their existence authorization. Thus it came in the apron between both organizations and their leaders Oskar Stäbel (NSDStB) and Gerhard Krüger (DSt) to a proper race in hurrying ahead obedience. At the book burns however not only organized national socialists were involved, but also other students, in particular also connecting students, who partly participated in the “full Wichs”.

The book burn had been organized thus not by official side, but by the students was independently accomplished. However Joseph Goebbels gave a speech and gave to that events thereby an official note in Berlin of the Ministers.

Were burned often books from the university libraries, which one wanted to remove as “in an un-German manner”.

To the living and later also pursued authors belonged among other things Walter Benjamin, Bertolt break, Lion Feuchtwanger, Leonhard franc, Heinrich Heine, Heinrich Eduard Jacob, Erich Kästner (unidentified in the crowd watched), Alfred Kerr, Heinrich man, Thomas's man, Robert Musil, Carl von Ossietzky, Erich Maria Remarque, Joseph Roth, Nelly Sachs, Ernst Toller, briefly Tucholsky, Franz Werfel. Many writers, other artists and also scientists received work prohibition in the consequence or extracted themselves further pursuits by emigration.

Oskar Maria count later demanded the burn of its books, since to its frightening did not forbid its work, but one recommended by the Nazis. Its call “burns me!“it published 1933 in “the Viennese worker newspaper”. 1934 was finally also forbidden its books.

For few of the authors concerned the pursuit of their works does not work by the Nazis in the way away that they lost their previous admittingness in Germany almost completely.

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memories, abuse of the memory

on the citizen of Berlin Bebelplatz reminded today in plaster let in glass plate of the book burn. It releases the view of to out empty Bücherregalen the existing memorial „library “ of the Israeli artist Micha Ullmann .

In Goettingen a Gedenktafel reminds at the Albanikirchhof (at that time Adolf Hitler place) with the well-known quotation Heines (see waiting castle celebration) of the there book burn.

The West German author Jörg Friedrich uses the fact that in consequence of bombardments of cities in 2. World war also libraries burned, in order Nazis and allied to set and with it the Nazi tables to play down purposeful book burn. Its book “the fire” is to enthistorisieren the national socialism and turn around the cause effect connection, and concomitantly the victim authors - relation.

see: List of the burned books 1933 and list of forbidden books.


during the burn of the books at the opera place at that time to 10. SA and SS-chapels patriotic ways and march songs played May 1933. Then nine selected representatives handed the books „of the un-German spirit “the flames to the studentses over, the works were assigned to who after individual areas, with salient words:

  • 3. Rufer: Against Gesinnungslumperei and political betrayal, for devotion at people and state! I hand the writings of Friedrich William Förster to the flame over.
  • 5. Rufer: Against falsification of our history and Herabwürdigung of their large shapes, for reverence our past ago! I hand the writings of Emil Ludwig and Werner preserving man to the flame over.
  • 6. Rufer: Against people-strange journalism democratically - Jewish coinage, for conscious cooperation at the work of the national structure! I hand the writings of Theodor Wolff and George Bernhard to the flame over.
  • 9. Rufer: Against insolence and arrogance, for attention and reverence before the unsterblichen German people spirit! Devour, flame, also the writings of Tucholsky and Ossietzky!

Source: „Neuköllner day sheet “, Friday, the 12. May 1933, No. to 111

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