In a symbolic act of ominous significance, on 10 May 1933, the students burned upwards of 25,000 volumes of "un-German" books, presaging an era of state censorship and control of culture. On the night of 10 May, in most university towns, nationalist students marched in torchlight parades "against the un-German spirit." The scripted rituals called for high Nazi officials, professors, rectors, and student leaders to address the participants and spectators. At the meeting places, students threw the pillaged and unwanted books into the bonfires with great joyous ceremony, band-playing, songs, "fire oaths," and incantations. In Berlin, some 40,000 people gathered in the Opernplatz to hear Joseph Goebbels deliver a fiery address: "No to decadence and moral corruption!" Goebbels enjoined the crowd. “Yes to decency and morality in family and state! I consign to the flames the writings of Heinrich Mann, Ernst Gläser, Erich Kästner.”
But this event is one of the special ones, which the city of Berlin is able to celebrate in the middle of hordes of tourists near Unter den Linden, "in the consciousness of guilt, who then loaded representatives of the Evangelical Church through silence and complicity on to the Evangelical Church in Berlin city center district together with the Berlin Cathedral community and other partners".
During the event, the German theater actors will read from the works of writers whose writings have been burned in 1933. A Jewish cantor and choirmaster of the Berlin Cathedral will sing psalms, Bishop Markus Dröge, Rabbi Daniel Alter and the Catholic provost Rother prayers. Jan-Hendrik Olbertz, President of Humboldt University, provides the historical situation.

You may also like

Back to Top