Category:Book burning on Bebelplatz in Berlin

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The book burning at Bebelplatz was the public burning of books and publications that the Nazis believed represented an "un-German spirit," in a propagandistic mass event held at Bebelplatz square, then Berliner Opernplatz, the Opera Square in Berlin, Germany on May 10, 1933.

Nazi campaign against dangerous literature

In May and June 1933, the German Student Union (German: Deutsche Studentenschaft, DSt) orchestrated a nationwide "Action against un-German Spirit," (Aktion wider den undeutschen Geist) culminating in the Nazi book burnings in various cities across Nazi Germany (Bücherverbrennung 1933 in Deutschland). These burnings were part of the Nazi Party's campaign to eradicate ideologies it deemed subversive to Nazism. Targeted books included those by Jewish, communist, socialist, anarchist, liberal, pacifist, and sexologist authors, among others.

Nazi book burnings

On May 6, 1933, the Berlin chapter of the German Student Union raided Magnus Hirschfeld's Institute of Sex Research, looting its library and burning a portion of the material outside the institute. The rest was taken to Bebelplatz on May 10, where over 25,000 books were burned by students, professors, and paramilitary organizations like the SA, SS, and Hitler Youth, marking the beginning of strict state censorship. The book burnings were accompanied by torch-lit parades and speeches by Nazi officials denouncing perceived moral corruption and Jewish intellectualism. Joseph Goebbels, Reich Minister of Propaganda in Nazi Germany from 1933 to 1945, delivered a speech, branding the authors of the burned books as "intellectual filth." Despite some postponements due to rain, the campaign was successful in thirty-four university towns across Germany, garnering widespread media coverage and radio broadcasts.


The Nazi book burnings symbolically marked the censorship, intolerance, and terror of the Nazi regime. What is today Bebelplatz in Berlin features a memorial to the book burnings, a 1995 work by Israeli sculptor Micha Ullmann titled, "The Empty Library" — a subterranean room lined with empty white bookshelves, visible through a glass set into the pavement.


Check the German radio report and a newsreel on the Action Against the Un-German Spirit with Goebbels' s propaganda speech at the book burning on the Opera Square on May 10, 1933 at


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