Holocaust History Archived Page
“Un-German” Book Burning
May 10, 1933
Held in Berlin on May 10, 1933, 1000’s of titles were burned on a large pyre. These volumes were collected, stacked and lit afire by the Nationalist German Students Organization.
Book burnings took place at Universities all over Germany on this night, and in the weeks immediately following.
Early in 1933, Joseph Goebbels, the Nazi Minister for Popular Enlightenment and Propaganda began “synchronizing” German Art & Culture with the values of the Nazi party. Materials he considered “un-German” were confiscated, and most often destroyed. Un- German works included books by Jewish, communist, or 'degenerate' authors.
Works by H.G. Wells, Einstein, Freud, Bertolt Brecht, Lion Feuchtwanger, and Alfred Kerr – among others - were thrown into fires in 34 University towns across Germany.
This was seen as a Nazi attempt at pushing the Aryan agenda, and an attempt at purifying German culture. It is estimated that 25,000 books were burned in the Berlin book burning alone.
Book Burning in Berlin - USHMM Photo 01620 1