Nazi Propaganda Minister Josef Goebbels made Bebelplatz (then called Opernplatz) infamous on 10th May 1933, when he used the square across from Humboldt University to burn 20,000 books by 'immoral' authors of whom the Nazis did not approve. Their list included Thomas and Heinrich Mann, Arnold Zweig, Kurt Tucholsky and Sigmund Freud. Today a monument is the reminder, though it blames Nazi students for the episode. When entering the square it's easy to miss the monument. Look dead centre: the monument is underground. A piece of plexiglass allows the viewer to look underground into a large, white room, filled with entirely empty, blank white bookcases. The absence of books reminds the viewer just what was lost here: ideas. But the event did reveal things to come, as author and philosopher Heinrich Heine, whose books were burned, said in 1821: 'This was only the foreplay. Where they burn books, they will also burn people'. He was correct.
Bebelplatz, 10117 Berlin, Germany
The Bebelplatz and Nearby Attractions on Map
Berlin Wall(1.1 km)
Little is left of the Berlin Wall at its original site, which was destroyed almost everywhere when Germany was reunified in 1989.
Brandenburg Gate(1.2 km)
The Brandenburger Tor or Brandenburg Gate is the only surviving Berlin city gate from the 18th century and a symbol of the reunified city.
Neues Museum(0.4 km)
The Neues Museum or New Museum on Berlin’s Museuminsel stands as a monument to 19th century art appreciation, museum design and technological innovation.
Kollhoff Tower(1.6 km)
The 101 metre tall Kollhoff Tower on 1 Potsdamer Platz has an open observation deck on the roof that offers breathtaking views of Berlin.
Neue Kirche(0.5 km)
The Neue Kirche, also known as Deutscher Dom, is one of the 3 buildings of the ‘trinity ensemble’ in the Gendarmenmarkt square, along with the Französische Dom and the Konzerthaus.
Hanf Museum(0.9 km)
The Hemp Museum in Berlin is dedicated to the hemp plant, covering its cultivation, harvesting, and the processing of its different parts for use in various products.
Neptunbrunnen is a bronze fountain by Reinhold Begas, built in 1891 as a present from the city of Berlin to the Kaiser Wilhelm II.
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