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November 9th 2008
Published: November 17th 2008
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Remember pictures, documentaries or stories of the book burning by the Third Reich on May 10, 1933?

Well, that was here, in Babelplatz.

25,000 titles were burned. Many were original first editions. Irreplaceable. The titles chosen were pretty much anything that the Third Reich didn't agree with. Books and journals were taken from the university library by students and fed into the bonfires.

Today there is a fascinating memorial. Underground in the middle of the platz are empty, white shelves, with room enough to hold 25,000. The room is unreachable, but you can see it through a "window" in the ground. We didn't take a picture of it, but for a phenomenal photo you can go to Book Burning Memorial Photo .

A few feet away is a memorial plaque, explaining what happened at that site. On the plaque is also a quote from Heinrich Heine. The translation is: "Wherever they burn books they will also, in the end, burn human beings."

The true power in that quote comes in that he said it in 1820, over a hundred years before the book burning in Babelplatz, proving the importance of such monuments and memorials. If we do not learn from history, we will repeat it.


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