On May 10, 1933, on initiative of Nazi propaganda minister Josef Goebbels, the Nazis organized a book burning around Germany. In Berlin, the book burning was organized at the Opernplatz (now Bebelplatz) next to the Humboldt University. At Opernplatz, about 20,000 books were burned by writers who were considered by the Nazis to be of a degenerative nature and thus harmful to the Germans. Already in the first half of the nineteenth century, the German writer Heinrich Heine had said ”that where one burns books one also soon burns people (Das war ein Vorspiel nur, dort wo man bucher verbrennt, dort wo man bucher verbrennt, verbrennt man am Ende auch Menschen)”. Heine’s books were some of those that were burned. In connection with the book burning at Opernplatz, Goebbels gave a speech in which he talked about the importance of how important it was to destroy these books. As propaganda minister, Goebbels had his own ministry called the Chamber of Culture. This Chamber oversaw everything in cultural life, film, music, press, art, theatre and literature. If a person wanted to be active in these areas, he had to be a member of the Reich chamber. Only the internationally recognised Frankfurter Zeitung newspaper was given some degree of freedom.

Current status: Monument (2011).

Address: Bebelplatz, 10117 Berlin.

Get there: Metro to either Unter den Linden, Friedrichstrasse or Fransözische strasse Station.

My comment:

The monument can be difficult to detect as it is located underground in a large open space. But you just have to walk towards the middle of the space and you will find it. The monument is one of the strangest I’ve seen, although the symbolism is clear. The monument consists of a thick square glass/plastic board lying on the ground and underneath it stands empty bookcases symbolizing the books that were burned. Next to the glass plate there is a memorial plaque on the ground.

Follow up in books: Longerich, Peter: Goebbels: A Biography (2015).