The History Place - Holocaust Timeline

An event unseen since the Middle Ages occurred on May 10, 1933, as German students from universities formerly regarded as among the finest in the world, gathered in Berlin and other German cities to burn books with "unGerman" ideas. Works by Freud, Einstein, Thomas Mann, Jack London, H.G. Wells and many others went up in flames as the students sang Nazi Anthems. May 10, 1933.

In Berlin, Nazi Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels gives a speech to the students, declaring:

"My fellow students, German men and women, the era of exaggerated Jewish intellectualism is now at an end. The triumph of the German revolution has cleared a path for the German way; and the future German man will not just be a man of books, but also a man of character and it is to this end we want to educate you. To have at an early age the courage to peer directly into the pitiless eyes of life. To repudiate the fear of death in order to gain again the respect for death. That is the mission of the young and therefore you do well at this late hour to entrust to the flames the intellectual garbage of the past. It is a strong, great and symbolic undertaking, an undertaking, which shall prove to all the world that the intellectual basis of the November Republic is here overturned; but that from its ruins will arise victorious the lord of a new spirit."

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 one burns books, one will, in the end, burn people too."

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