The ritual destruction of books or other written materials by fire, which is usually carried out in a public setting, is known as book burning. The burning of books under the Nazi regime on May 10, 1933, is perhaps the most famous book burning in history.
A Nineteenth-Century Precedent
In 1817, German student associations chose the 300th anniversary of Luther’s 95 Theses to hold a festival, during which they burned anti-national and reactionary texts and literature that they viewed as “Un-German.”
“Synchronizing” Culture with Nazi Ideology
On April 6, 1933, Goebbels, the Nazi Minister for Popular Enlightenment and Propaganda, began an effort to bring German arts and culture in line with Nazi goals, with the National Socialist German Students’ Association (NSDStB) as a strong ally. The NSDStB declared a nationwide “Action against the Un-German Spirit,” and on April 8, the students’ association drafted their twelve “theses,” evoking Martin Luther’s.
Which Authors and Works were Targeted?
On May 10, 1933, student leaders burned books to protest against perceived enemies of the Nazi regime, including American authors Jack London, Theodore Dreiser, and Helen Keller. Not all of the book burnings went as planned; some were postponed until June 21.
Why do Totalitarian Regimes Often Target Culture?
A Holocaust survivor, an Iranian author, and two Museum historians discuss the Nazi book burnings, as well as why totalitarian regimes frequently target culture, particularly literature, in this short film.
What books were banned in Germany?
According to the Nazis, all of the following types of literature were to be prohibited:
- Traitors, emigrants, and foreign authors who believe they can attack and denigrate the new Germany (H. G. Wells, Romain Rolland)
- Marxism, Communism, and Bolshevism literature
- Pacifist literature
When were books banned in Germany?
On May 10, 1933, student groups at universities across Germany carried out a series of book burnings of works associated with an “un-German spirit,” according to the students and leading Nazi party members. Enthralled crowds witnessed the burning of works by Brecht, Einstein, Freud, Mann, and Remarque, among many other well-known authors.
Why is Mein Kampf banned in Germany?
The copyright holder, the state of Bavaria, which acquired the copyright after Hitler’s death in 1945 because it was the location of his official residence, prohibited the printing and public distribution of Hitler’s book Mein Kampf, which expired at the end of 2015.
Where they burn books they will also?
Heinrich Heine, a Jewish poet and one of Germany’s greatest poets, once said, “Where they burn books, they will eventually burn people.”
Why is Franz Kafka banned?
Kafka’s most famous novel, “The Trial,” was banned during the Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia during World War II, and Communists continued to distrust him after the war.
Who can ban books?
The only places where challenged books can be banned are schools, bookstores, and libraries; once a challenge is made, the institution in question can either ban the book or deny the challenge.
How many books have been burned?
About 1.5 million books were destroyed, according to Rebecca Knuth, an author and professor at the University of Hawaii.
What was Germany planning to do with the territories they conquered in the East?
German Rule in Occupied Europe Germany intended to annex most of the conquered eastern territories after Germanization, with some areas serving as forced labor camps and the majority being resettled by German colonists.
Where is Mein Kampf illegal?
In Latvia, the publication of Mein Kampf is currently prohibited.
Does Germany have a military?
The German Army (German: Deutsches Heer) is the land arm of Germany’s armed forces, which was established in 1955 as part of the newly formed West German Bundeswehr alongside the Marine (German Navy) and Luftwaffe (German Air Force).
Where did Heinrich Heine live?
Heine moved from Germany to France in 1831, settling in Paris for the rest of his life, prompted by the July Revolution of 1830, which made Louis-Philippe the French “Citizen King.”