Book burning memorial at Bebelplatz

Book burning memorial at Bebelplatz

A glance at Berlin's history

Bebelplatz – ©BerlinPartnerGmbH / Scholvien

If you are walking from the boulevard Unter den Linden to the Bebelplatz, you will probably see people who watch together on a spot on the floor. Only on closer inspection you can identify a sunken glass plate between the pavement that provides a view into a room full of empty bookshelves. The art work of the Israeli artist Micha Ullman is called "Library".

The subterranean bookshelves could accommodate about 20,000 books - and remind at the approximately 20,000 books, which the Nazis burnt on May 10th, 1933 on this place: works by journalists, writers, scientists and philosophers, seen as a threat to the Nazi ideology - in former terminology such as "literature, which undermines the moral and religious foundations of our nation" or "writings who glorify the Weimar Republic." Even works by communist thinkers should be wiped out in this "action against the un-German spirit". Among the most maligned authors were e. g. Erich Kaestner, Sigmund Freud, Karl Marx, Heinrich and Klaus Mann, Rosa Luxemburg, August Bebel, Bertha von Suttner and Stefan Zweig.

The Book burning memorial was inaugurated in March 1995. Besides the glass plate there are two bronze plaques, including a memorable quote from Heinrich Heine:

That was only a prelude, there
where they burn books,
they burn in the end people.
Heinrich Heine 1820

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Bebelplatz 1
10117 Berlin Mitte

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10117 Berlin
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