“It was just the prelude… Where they burn books, they will ultimately burn people too.”

“It was just the prelude… Where they burn books, they will ultimately burn people too.”

Heinrich Heine (1797-1856)

These prophetic words, penned by German Jewish Writer Heinrich Heine in 1821, became a chilling reality during the Nazi regime between 1933-1945.

On May 10, 1933, Joseph Goebbels, Nazi Germany’s Minister of Propaganda, led the book-burning event near the Berlin Opera House. This night alone over 25,000 books were destroyed.

Goebbels declared the event “The end of Jewish intellectualism”.

The burned books were written by over 200 authors, scientists, philosophers, artists and journalists. Of these, two thirds were Jewish, supplemented by Communists, liberals and political dissenters.

The books included works by Sigmund Freud, Thomas Mann, Lion Feuchtwanger, Bertolt Brecht, Albert Einstein, Heinrich Heine, Karl Marx, Emil Ludwig, Erich Kästner, Stefan Zweig and many others.

This event led to the burning of 100 million books between 1933-1945 in territories occupied by Nazi Germany.

Dr. Shmuel Rosenman and Phyllis Heideman Chair & President of the International March of the Living noted: “The burning of Jewish books – both sacred and secular –  before and during the Holocaust is yet one more chapter in the tragic story of Nazi Germany’s attempt to completely annihilate any trace of the Jewish people and culture.  They failed. The contribution to culture of the writers whose books were burned rose far above the flames of hatred”.


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