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The Burning of the Books

(May 10, 1933)

Wherever they burn books they will also, in the end, burn human beings.
—Heinrich Heine

In May 1933, the Nazi Party decreed that any book, “which acts subversively on our future or strikes at the root of German thought, the German home and the driving forces of our people...” was to be burnt.

On May 10, German students carrying banners toured the streets, rifling libraries, synagogues, and private homes burned tens of thousands of books nationwide. Works of philosophers, rationalists, poets, and internationally acclaimed authors, which had until then formed part of universal studies, were thrown into the flames. These book burnings marked the beginning of a period of extensive censorship and control of culture in Adolf Hitler’s escalating reign of terror.

Some of the authors targeted in the book burning campaign are listed below.

Albert Einstein

Harvelock Ellis

Lion Feuchtwanger

Sigmund Freud

André Gide

Franz Kafka

Erich Kästner

Hellen Keller

Alfred Kerr

Jack London

Heinrich Mann

Thomas Mann

Karl Marx

Hugo Preuss

Marcel Proust

Walter Rathenau

Erich Maria Remarque

Margaret Sanger

Arthur Schnitzler

Upton Sinclair

Jakob Wasserman

H. G. Wells

Stefan Zweig

Emile Zola


Source: Holocaust Memorial Center
© 1998 Holocaust Memorial Center, [email protected]
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