|An event unseen since the Middle Ages occurs as German
students from universities formerly regarded as among the finest in the
world, gather in Berlin and other German cities to burn books with "unGerman"
ideas. Books by Freud, Einstein, Thomas Mann, Jack London, H.G. Wells and
many others go up in flames as they give the Nazi salute. May 10, 1933.
In Berlin, Nazi Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels gives a speech to
the students, declaring:
"The era of extreme Jewish intellectualism is now at an end.
The breakthrough of the German revolution has again cleared the way on
the German path...The future German man will not just be a man of books,
but a man of character. It is to this end that we want to educate you.
As a young person, to already have the courage to face the pitiless glare,
to overcome the fear of death, and to regain respect for death - this is
the task of this young generation. And thus you do well in this midnight
hour to commit to the flames the evil spirit of the past. This is a strong,
great and symbolic deed - a deed which should document the following for
the world to know - Here the intellectual foundation of the November (Democratic)
Republic is sinking to the ground, but from this wreckage the phoenix of
a new spirit will triumphantly rise..."
The speech and book burnings are accompanied by the singing of Nazi
songs and anthems.
A hundred years earlier, the German-Jewish poet, Heinrich Heine, had
stated, "Where books are burned, human beings are destined to be burned
(Photo credit: U.S. National Archives)
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