Book burning

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Gustave Doré : Paul in Ephesus (around 1866). Magicians burn their pagan books after their conversion by the apostle Paul in Ephesus .

A book burning is the demonstrative destruction of books or other writings by fire. It is the best known form of book destruction . Most of the publicly carried out burnings are carried out because of moral , political or religious objections to the content of the writing and occurred both as a state staged or tolerated measure and as a means of public protest against state violence. Unpopular books were u. a. as blasphemous , heretical , heretical , immoral , obscene , seditious and treasonable both symbolically and actually burned.

The book burnings of the Roman Catholic Church , which took place since the 4th century and reached their climax in the Inquisition , are well known. In the 20th century, it was the book burnings of 1933 in National Socialist Germany , in which tens of thousands of books were publicly burned in ritualized demonstrations as part of an action against the un-German spirit of the German student body .


Book burnings are a phenomenon that accompanies the development of mankind and runs through the entire tangible history. The first burns are already known from antiquity, but they mainly shaped the 17th and 18th centuries.

Even the emperor Diocletian had the writings of the Christians burned in Constantinople . (See Martyrs of the Holy Books and Diocletian Persecution of Christians .) In the Middle Ages, autodafé referred to the burning of heretical books as the execution of a judgment by the Inquisition . In modern times, French revolutionaries and British troops in North America used this extreme means of their politics and burned down parts of the Bibliothèque Nationale and the Library of Congress. The reasons remained the same for centuries: the statements in the books are politically intolerable, false, dangerous, defamatory, obscene or pernicious. Attempts to ban unwanted books often culminated in public book burnings that were staged to attract the public. The ceremony adapted to the respective customs. While church bells were still ringing until the end of the 18th century and an executioner carried out the sentence by throwing the book on a stake, today people usually proceed more quietly and - due to the negative power of association with the book burning in 1933 - often evade attention the media.

Early and Middle Ages

  • The New Testament describes a book burning with which certain churches and Christian groups have repeatedly compared and justified their action against divergent representations of opinion up to the present day: “But many who had practiced magic brought their [magic] books together and burned them publicly and calculated what they were worth and came up with fifty thousand silver drachms ”. ( Acts 19:19 EU ) This New Testament tradition describes the work of the Apostle Paul in Ephesus , where he stopped for two years on his third missionary journey. The effect of his missionary zeal is said to have been that converted magicians gathered their books and burned them. The spectacular action was evidently voluntary, which was not always the case with later church book burnings. John Milton described this as an example of a personal and voluntary process: “It was private act, a voluntary act, and leaves us to a voluntary imitation: the men in remorse burnt those books which were their own; the magistrate by this example is not appointed ".
Saint Dominic and the Albigensians in Albi (1207) - Catholic and Cathar scriptures are thrown into the fire, but only these burn - Pedro Berruguete around 1495.
  • In 325 the books of Arius and his disciples were burned as heretical after the First Council of Nicaea . According to similar ordinances in councils 381, 431 and 451, the burning of heretical writings “sub conspectu judicum” was ordered.
  • From the 4th century there is evidence of the burning of "magic books" in the context of Christian conversion. From approx. 350 until the Middle Ages there are descriptions that “magic books” were looked for and destroyed. Between 350 and 400 owners of “magic books” could also be punished with death.
  • The Res gestae des Ammianus Marcellinus (approx. 330 to approx. 395) report the persecution and execution of people who were accused of possessing books with prohibited content. Their codices and scrolls were publicly burned in large numbers. The books are said to have been primarily works of the "artes liberales", the classical ancient sciences. As a result, in the "eastern provinces" "for fear of similar fates, the owners burned their entire libraries".
  • 371–372 (or 374), Emperor Valens ordered one of the greatest book destruction. The confiscated and destroyed material included more artes liberales and legal writings than magic, and the emperor had the books of the suspects tracked down in their homes - a particularly serious violation of Roman law. The book burning took place in connection with the execution of many distinguished men such as philosophers.
  • At the end of the 5th century, students in Beirut found “John with the surname 'Walker' from Thebes in Egypt” during a house search of magic books. After he burned them, he was forced to give out the names of other owners. Thereupon the students began a major search operation "supported by the bishop and the secular authorities". They found such books on other students and some notable people and burned them in front of the church. ( See also: Book Losses in Late Antiquity )
  • In 562 the Roman emperor Justinian I had pagan books, pictures and statues of gods burned in the Kynegion , at the place "where the bodies of the executed were thrown", a particularly despicable form of " damnatio memoriae ", the erasure of memory.
  • 1160 or 1164 prayers were to the planet and Avicenna's writings Book of recovery and book the rescue by Ibn al-Māristānīya in Baghdad publicly burned.
  • In 1193, the Buddhist Nalanda University (now Bihar State , India ), probably the largest in the world of its time, was destroyed by the Islamic-Turkish conqueror Bakhtiyar Khilji , resulting in a massacre of thousands of teachers and students, mostly Buddhist monks. Accordingly, the victims were beheaded or burned alive. In addition, all the books in the library were burned, which is said to have taken several months due to the enormous size. The event is also considered to be the turning point of Buddhism in India, which was largely wiped out on the subcontinent.
  • In 1207 Dominikus in Albi, who was commissioned with the fight against heretics, gave the Albigensians' writings to the flames. In this way Dominic checked the writings of the Albigensians, who remained in the fire and burned while the orthodox Catholic books were lifted up into heaven.
  • In 1242 there was the burning of the Talmud in Paris, during which all Jewish books discovered in France, England, Portugal and in the non-Almohad part of Spain were confiscated and destroyed. Under the mobilization of the royal officials, 24 truckloads of Jewish books from all over the French kingdom were collected, and the pyre burned for two days. With the court of flames in Paris, the books “in maxima multitudine” were piled up and burned in the form of the pyre for the first time. This book burning took place on an instruction from Pope Gregory IX. back to the local bishops who succeeded Louis IX. persuaded to have twelve thousand copies of the Talmud burned in Paris. Other popes followed suit, such as Innocent IV (1243–1254), Clement IV (1256–1268), John XXII. (1316–1334), Paul IV (1555–1559), Pius V (1566–1572) and Clement VIII (1592–1605), who almost succeeded in destroying all Jewish literature.
  • 1256 of ordered Mongols - Khan Hülegü to the burning of the great library that the Assassins on Alamut had put together. Only all Koran manuscripts and scientific works were sorted out beforehand.

Modern times

15th century

Martin Luther burned the
papal bull in Wittenberg in 1520 . (Painting by Paul Thumann , 1872/73)
Title page of the index Librorum Prohibitorum , copper engraving from 1711. (NB: The Holy Spirit above, in the middle of aureole and watching angels, lit with 2 rays that are deflected by Christians, with a halo , the pile of books below.)
Burning of the "Book of Sports" (Declaration of Sports) by English Protestants (around 1618)
  • In 1415 the Bohemian reformer Jan Hus was sentenced to death by fire on his birthday on July 6th in Constance . On the way to the execution he was led past the cemetery of that church, where at the same hour his books were burned “in the presence of the clergy and the cheering people”.
  • On February 7, 1497 and February 17, 1498, the Dominican Father Girolamo Savonarola in Florence had a "children's police" enforce the "surrender of all dishonorable writings, figures and paintings" in house and street collections and burned pornographic items in a "pyre of vanities" and pagan books, games of chance, cosmetics, obscene pictures, Boccaccio's decamerons, and all the works of Ovid that could be found in the city.
  • In the 15th century there were numerous such actions even before the "bruciamenti" Savonarolas, which were also often initiated by penitential preachers, for example in Bologna , Augsburg , Nuremberg , Bamberg and Vienna .
  • In 1499/1500, the Archbishop of Toledo , Francisco Jiménez de Cisneros , decreed , as part of the forced conversion of the Muslim Granadinos, that their books, not least the explored copies of the Koran , should be burned. In 1821 Heinrich Heine made this event the subject of his tragedy Almansor (see below ).

16th Century

  • 1501, the book burning pope hostile writings was Pontifical Bull arranged
  • In 1520 Pope Leo X issued the bull " Exsurge Domine " against Martin Luther with the threat of ban. The burning of his writings, which were ordered from the pulpit in many places, but only actually followed in a few German cities (including Leuven , Liège , Trier and the dioceses of Mainz and Cologne) in October, prompted Luther to take countermeasures on his part. On December 10, he burned the “papist” canonical law books ( Codex Iuris Canonici ) and the papal bull threatening ban in front of the Elstertor in Wittenberg . With this act Luther accomplished the symbolic detachment from Rome; With a Latin condemnation formula he threw the bull into the fire: “Because you have eradicated the truth of God, the Lord eradicate you today. Into the fire with you! ".
  • Also on December 10, 1520, following an appeal by Philip Melanchthon , the papal bull, books of papal law and scholastic theology as well as some writings by Johannes Eck and Hieronymus Emser were burned in front of the gates of the city of Wittenberg . The " Summa theologica " by Thomas Aquinas and the "Sentences Commentary" by Duns Scotus escaped the flames because the organizer of the book burning (probably Johannes Agricola ) could not get any copies. This action symbolized the final turning away from Catholicism and the end of efforts to find an amicable settlement in the denominational dispute.
  • On March 10, 1521, Charles V issued the mandate to burn Martin Luther's writings .
  • On May 15, 1521, at the behest of King Henry VIII , the English Cardinal Thomas Wolsey carried out the burning of a large number of Lutheran books at St Paul's Cross in London in the presence of 30,000 spectators .
  • On June 24, 1527 Paracelsus burned an edition of the canon of medicine by the physician and philosopher Avicenna, who was then regarded as an authority, in the midsummer fire.
  • In 1534 (December 24th) the French typographer and publisher Antoine Augereau , Garamond's teacher , was burned at the stake with his writings. The background was a theological dispute with the Catholic Church.
  • In 1555, the Roman Inquisition ordered the confiscation of the Talmud from Jewish households and the subsequent cremation of all copies.
  • In 1559 the Index Librorum Prohibitorum appeared for the first time , a directory of the books that are forbidden for every Catholic subject to excommunication . The last official edition appeared in 1948.
  • On July 12, 1562, the bishop of Yucatán, Diego de Landa , had all the idols and objects that he believed were used by the Maya for devil worship burned on a stake in front of the Franciscan convent in Maní . Almost all books that were written in Mayan script fell victim to the flames. Only four codices survived the destruction and today give us a little insight into the world of the Maya.
  • In 1562 Pope Leo X condemned Pietro Pomponazzi's “Tractatus de immortalitate animae” (treatise on the immortality of the soul) of 1516. It was publicly burned. In his work Pomponazzi rejected the immortality of the soul as untenable.

17th century

  • Around 1618 Protestants in England burned the " Book of Sports " by the executioner , which according to the puritanical view contradicted the sanctification of the Sabbath . ( "10 of May the Boocke of Sportes upon the Lords day was burnt by the Hangman in the place where the Crosse stoode & at Exhange" )
  • On January 29, 1630, the Bavarian Elector Maximilian I had 11,183 “non-Catholic” books burned in front of the gates of the city of Amberg in the course of the re-Catholicization of the Upper Palatinate , which his officials had confiscated during systematic house searches throughout the Principality . These were mainly religious “practical literature” that was widespread in Protestant households, such as the prayer book by Johann Habermann , the psalter by Ambrosius Lobwasser , gospels , behavioral guides, e.g. B. Jesus Sirach , as well as Luther and Hus biographies. The cremation, staged propagandistically as a criminal court, was accompanied by music by Jesuit students. Later, the former mayor Georg Kotz got into trouble with the authorities because of his alleged statement that "the priests " should also have been put on the pile of books.
  • In 1634 a "book execution" took place in Madrid.
  • On October 18, 1642, on the market square in Tönning in the Duchy of Schleswig, Anabaptist - Davidjorist books were due to a mandate from the Gottorf Duke Friedrich III. on October 19 of the same year and at the instigation of the Lutheran provost on Eiderstedt Johannes Moldenit was publicly burned.
  • In 1650, the first recorded book burning on American soil took place in Boston Market Place , where religious writings were put to the fire. This established a long tradition of book bans and book burnings in the United States.
  • On September 23, 1660, the Council of State under the French King Louis XIV decreed to burn the Lettres provinciales of the philosopher Blaise Pascal and forbade all printers and booksellers under threat of “exemplary” punishment not only printing and distribution, but also the private possession of the Book. The writing in which Pascal dealt critically with the moral decline of the Jesuits and the probabilistic moral theology had previously been classified as Jansenistic and thus heretical by a high-ranking commission of Catholic clergy and theologians of the Sorbonne . The injunction was carried out on October 8 at the confluence of the rue de l'Arbre Sec and rue Saint-Honoré, a square known as the Croix du Tiroir, which served as one of several places of execution in what was then Paris. The executioner tore up the specimens that had been found and burned them at the stake. The Parliament of Provence had already had Pascal's writing burned at the stake in Aix three years earlier , and the General Congregation of the Inquisition under Pope Alexander VII had placed it on the Librorum Prohibitorum Index that same year.
  • 1664 were in the wake Theater scandal to Molière's Tartuffe some copies of the piece, the hypocrisy and Paris bigotry denounced burned publicity.
  • In 1689 August Hermann Francke questioned traditional Lutheran studies. Many students then burned their textbooks.
  • 1682 had Fyodor III. of Russia burn ancestral books of the nobility.

18th century

19th century

Book burning on October 18, 1817 at the Wartburg Festival
Seal of the "Society to Combat Vice" in New York City (1873)
  • On July 4, 1854, the burnt civil William Lloyd Garrison , the Constitution of the United States during a meeting of abolitionists in Framingham , Massachusetts as a document of slavery .
  • The New York Society for the Suppression of Vice founded in 1873 by Anthony Comstock (1844–1915) had an illustration of a book burning on its seal . The Puritan Comstock was long head of the United States Postal Inspection Service . The Comstock laws he initiated restricted the dispatch of "lascivious or obscene material" - be it erotic literature, nude photos or "rubber articles". He also took advantage of a peculiarity of American law, which left the approval of magazines, plays and films to the local authorities until the 1950s . This enabled Comstock to become one of the greatest book burners in history, democratically legitimized. The burning of 15 tons of books as well as the destruction of 150 tons of lead printing plates and nearly four million pictures are attributed to him. He also drove a number of publishers, dealers and authors, including Ida Craddock , to suicide and had several thousand arrests.

20th century

May 10, 1933, book burning by the German student body on Opernplatz in Berlin.
  • On August 25, 1914, in the early days of the First World War, the university library of the Catholic University of Leuven was burned down in retaliation against attacks by so-called franc tireurs by the troops of the German Empire. The action which resulted in the irrecoverable loss of many medieval manuscripts caused horror all over the world.
  • When the United States entered the First World War in 1917, German books randomly picked from the bookshelves were burned in several states while singing patriotic songs.
  • In the years of the Russian Civil War (1918–1922) and in the course of the cultural revolution aimed at by the Bolsheviks, libraries were looted, books burned and otherwise destroyed in the Soviet Union in the late 1920s .
  • On May 10, 1933, as part of an action against the un-German spirit of the German student body, book burnings took place in National Socialist Germany , with tens of thousands of books from Jewish, Marxist and pacifist writers publicly confiscated and burned in 22 university cities . On this occasion , Joseph Goebbels gave a speech to a mass audience on Berlin's Opernplatz . Numerous other actions followed in June 1933 and in the months thereafter. The gloomy solemn pomp (Erich Kästner) gave these events the status of a unique auto - da - fe in the continuity of the historical series from antiquity to the most recent present.
    Book burning in 1933 as part of the campaign against the un-German spirit
  • On December 15, 1935, representatives of the Armenian communities gathered in Istanbul in the Pangalti district to protest against the filming of Franz Werfel's novel " The Forty Days of Musa Dagh ", which led to the genocide of the Armenians by the Young Turks in World War I. Topic has. A picture by Franz Werfel and his novel (in English) were placed on a pedestal. Asot Kecyan, the Armenian correspondent for the Azatarar and Norlur newspapers, set fire to Werfel's picture and book. Meanwhile, the Turkish national anthem was sung. Then one of the Armenian church leaders, Aram Aslan, gave a speech with the following content: “We Armenians live like brothers and sisters in the paradise founded by Ataturk. We show the world that an assassination like the one carried out by Franz Werfel against our country must be returned with death. Cursed are all those who speak and act against Turkishness. "
  • 1936 Greece . In August dictator was Ioannis Metaxas the cycle of poems Epitaphios of Yiannis Ritsos publicly burned.
  • In March 1938 the German National Socialists of the NSDAP / AO , national group Mexico, among them the German envoy Heinrich Rüdt von Collenberg , organized a “celebration for the completed Anschluss ” of Austria to the German Reich in Mexico City , which was also followed by a small book burning . (Mexico was the only state that had politically condemned the "Anschluss".)
  • On April 30, 1938, after the annexation to the German Empire, a book burning took place on the Residenzplatz in Salzburg . It was staged by the SS man, teacher and writer Karl Springenschmid and was the only one on Austrian territory.
  • In 1938, books from Jewish communities were burned by the Nazis in many towns and villages (e.g. in the Franconian villages of Hagenbach , Karlstadt and Steinach ).
  • In the 1940s and 1950s, when the unbelievably high sales of comic books and the theories of the German-American psychiatrist Fredric Wertham began to panic in the USA and subsequently also in Western European countries , a real crusade against comics was launched and such were burned publicly.
  • On May 16, 1940, the meanwhile rebuilt university library (after being destroyed in 1914) was destroyed again by German troops.
  • In 1941, several book burnings were carried out in German-occupied Alsace as part of a “de-whelping campaign”.
  • On June 16, 1944, the Döme-Sztójay government burned 447,627 books by Jewish authors in Hungary.
  • In 1953, the American Senator Joseph McCarthy forced the confiscation and partial incineration of incriminated literature from the libraries of the United States Information Agency in the course of his "communist hunt" in the USA .
East Berlin 1955, burning of "dirty and trash literature"
  • In 1956 the entire German-language edition of Eustace Mullin's book Secrets of the Federal Reserve was confiscated and burned by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution . Mullins deals in the work with the formation of the Federal Reserve Bank, its monopoly on the production of dollar bills, the history and the composition of the banking cartel behind it and with the consequences for the American society and the world economy.
  • In June 1956, works by the psychoanalyst Wilhelm Reich in connection with his theories on orgone energy were burned on his property in Rangeley, Maine, following a court order from the US Food and Drug Administration . At the end of the same year and in March 1960, another six tons of Reich's publications, books and magazines were incinerated in the Gansevoort incinerator in New York. Until the 1960s , any possession of Wilhelm Reich's writings was prohibited in the USA and was prosecuted.
  • On March 30, 1957, in front of over 1,000 spectators “on the Holzkamp” in Itzehoe , Mayor Joachim Schulz lit a “ pyre ” from more than 12,000 “perishable penny books”.
  • At the end of September 1957, the Federation of German Catholic Youth (BDKJ) in Frankfurt, in cooperation with the German Youth Writings Works and “with the express approval of the Protestant Youth and the School Authority”, called for a “funeral pyre”; the planned public burning of the "Schmöker" did not take place after "protests in the press and public".
  • On November 11, 1958, pupils of the Catholic elementary school Feldstrasse in Aachen were officially given the opportunity to “use their, above all, mindless trash, which even today is all too often pulled out from under the school desks,” as part of the traditional Saint Martin's procession . to entrust the Martin fire. "
  • In 1962 the first student “ambassadors” who were allowed to enter East Berlin were forced to burn all the books and manuscripts they had brought with them before entering the country.
  • On April 3, 1965, in Bietigheim in the Ludwigsburg district , the exchange campaign “Trash for good books” organized by the local youth council (chairman Lothar Späth ) came to an end with the public burning of thousands of penny literature.
  • In May 1965, numerous publications classified as “trash” were publicly burned in Brugg, Switzerland, as part of an action initiated by a trade school teacher.
  • On October 3, 1965, a group of young people from the Düsseldorf EC ( Decided Christians ) burned penny novels, sex magazines and Bravo books, but also books by well-known authors such as Camus , Grass , Kästner or Nabokow while reciting biblical passages in order to destroy scriptures. "That would have had a negative effect on them". They had the official approval of the public order office of the city of Düsseldorf. The idea came to the young people after reading Acts 19:19 EU , where it says: "And not a few who practiced magic brought their magic books and burned them in front of everyone."
  • On August 15, 1966, after a call from evangelical circles in the USA, Beatles records were publicly burned .
  • Since the Communist Party came to power in the People's Republic of China , “anti-communist” books and media have been publicly destroyed. This primarily includes books and digital media from persecuted groups such as democrats and human rights activists. Media from forbidden religious groups such as Falun Gong are also publicly destroyed.
  • In 1975 the Khmer Rouge came to power in Cambodia , whose leader Pol Pot wanted to create a purely agricultural society on a communist basis in which all intellect was forbidden. Money was abolished, books were burned, teachers, merchants, and almost the entire intellectual elite in the country were murdered in order to bring about agrarian communism.
  • In May 1981, the Jaffna Public Library in Sri Lanka was stormed and burned to the ground, killing more than 97,000 books. Many old palm leaf manuscripts were also destroyed.
  • On November 28, 1986, the Chilean Ministry of the Interior had 15,000 copies of the dissident book The Adventure of Miguel Littín - Illegal by Gabriel García Márquez burned in Chile on the direct order of the dictator Augusto Pinochet in Valparaíso .
  • The 1988 novel The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie was burned as blasphemous by Muslims.
  • Vedran Smajlović plays the cello in the destroyed library building of Vijećnica (1992)
    In 1992, during the Bosnian War, Serbian troops attacked the Oriental Institute in Sarajevo , the entire archive fund was destroyed: around 250,000 linear meters, mostly original documents, the Manuscripta turcika collection (7,156 documents), the Sidschilen collection (66 Sidschilen from 17th to 19th centuries) Century), the archives of the Vilayet (approx. 220,000 documents from the 19th century), the collection of tapia, the collection of handwritten manuscripts (5,236 codes).
  • Also during the Bosnian War, the Bosnian national and university library in Vijećnica was destroyed by Serbian nationalists under the leadership of Ratko Mladic in August 1992 . Almost all of their 1.5 million books, including over 150,000 antiquarian books, were destroyed.
  • The Nasir-i Khuschra Foundation in Kabul , Afghanistan , founded in 1987, contained a large treasure trove of museum items and books in Arabic, English and Pashto. The Persian collection was unique and contained, among other things, an early edition of Firdausi Shāhnāme , the Ishmaelite collection of works by Hasan-i Sabbāh , Nasir-i Khushra and seals of the first Aga Khan . On August 12, 1998, the Taliban destroyed the printing works, museum and library and did not spare a volume of books, not even a thousand-year-old edition of the Koran .

21st century

  • In January 2001, under pressure from Islamic fundamentalists, the Egyptian Ministry of Culture had 6,000 copies of homoerotic poetry burned by Abu Nuwas .
  • In March 2001, the American pastor George Bender and members of the "Harvest Assembly of God" church in Pittsburgh a . a. burn JK Rowlings' " Harry Potter " novels . This was done during a book-burning service on the grounds that the new hero glorified sorcery and witchcraft . CDs and videos from Foreigner , AC / DC , Bruce Springsteen , Pearl Jam , Iron Maiden and Black Sabbath as well as the Walt Disney videos " Herkules " and " Pinocchio " also ended up at the stake . Other burns took place in Alamogordo, New Mexico, Canton, North Carolina, and Colorado City (Arizona) .
  • At the beginning of 2001 in Indonesia there was a series of “sweepings” (“ purgatory ”) of literature considered politically left, mangas ( Japanese comics ), pop music CDs, but also of Khalil Gibran's essay volume The Prophet . They arose from student protests against falling levels of education as well as fundamentalist moralism that negated Western ideas.
  • 2002 Tbilisi : When a Bible was burned in the form of an arson attack on a building belonging to the Georgian Bible Society, an extremist group from the Georgian Orthodox Church destroyed tens of thousands of “Protestant” Bibles in front of the cameras.
  • On March 30, 2005, the Turkish district administrator Mustafa Altinpinar in the southern Turkish province of Isparta ordered that all books of the future Nobel Prize winner Orhan Pamuk be removed from the public libraries and burned. Pamuk was and is a sharp critic of the Turkish Kurdish policy and the official attitude to the genocide of the Armenians in 1915. The district administrator justified his decision with the right of the Turkish nation to self-defense against slander. However, there was not a single work by the author on the book shelves, as he was already strongly hostile to it. The cremation operation was canceled. The governor of the province of Isparta, Isa Parlak, reversed the decision of the subordinate district administrator shortly afterwards.
  • On May 21, 2006, two politicians burned a copy of Dan Brown's book "The Da Vinci Code " in Ceccano, Italy . One of the two, Stefano Gizzi, justified his actions with wanting to "defend Jesus". The trigger for the cremation was the fact that in the book "Da Vinci Code" the thesis is put forward that Jesus and Mary Magdalene were a married couple and had children together.
  • On June 24, 2006, at the solstice celebration in Pretzien ( Saxony-Anhalt ), a US flag and Anne Frank's diary were burned publicly and directly related to the book burnings during the Nazi regime . Five of the perpetrators were given suspended sentences.
  • On July 11, 2007, the ARD broadcast the documentary "Die Hardliner des Herr" by Tilman Jens, which was produced by HR and in which a Bible is burned, which led to controversy, as this in some circles as a mockery of both Christians the Jews, to whom the five books of Moses ( Torah ) are also holy, was felt. Jens explained: “It's about portraying the Bible as a threatening, scary instrument and at the same time as God's sword of fire”.
  • In May 2008, several hundred New Testaments were collected from Orthodox Talmudic students in the Israeli city of Or Yehuda and then piled up and burned. The books had been distributed in the town a few days earlier by Messianic Jews , a denomination that regards Jesus as the Messiah promised to the Jews and is considered Christian by all other Jewish denominations.
  • In July 2010, the preacher Terry Jones and the American Christian church Dove World Outreach Center, which he and his wife lead, sparked a controversy about the planned burning of the Koran in 2010 when they announced terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 in Gainesville, Florida ) Wanting to burn 200 copies of the Koran . After international protests, Jones canceled the action on September 9, 2010.
  • In February 2012, five US soldiers burned several copies of the Koran in Afghanistan . These had previously been used as a secret means of communication among prisoners in the Bagram military prison. To prevent this, the books were confiscated and kept in an office. There the books accidentally ended up in the trash, according to US military investigators. Workers at the Bagrams landfill noticed the religious book being burned. This resulted in violent protests in Afghanistan, in which around 40 people were killed. The American President Obama then apologized to the Afghan people.
  • Catholic priests burned books in Poland in March 2019, including " Harry Potter " volumes by British author JK Rowling . "We obey the word of God," declared the priests of the Fundacja SMS Z Nieba group in a Facebook post that showed photos of the book burning and quoted from the Old Testament. The pictures showed three clergymen carrying a basket full of books and other items to a fire. The photos also showed the priests saying prayers in front of the flames, which included an African mask, a "Hello Kitty" umbrella and a Hindu figure.

Heinrich Heine quote

"That was just a prelude, where you burn books, you end up burning people."

This quote from Heinrich Heine from his tragedy Almansor (1821, published 1823) does not deal - contrary to a widespread assumption - the book burnings carried out four years earlier at the Wartburg Festival in 1817 , but a burning of the Koran after the conquest of Spanish Granada by Christian knights under the inquisitorial Cardinal Francisco Jiménez de Cisneros 1499/1500 (see above). In Heine's tolerance piece , the Muslim Almansor ben Abdullah speaks to Hassan, who is desperately fighting against the Christian occupation:

We heard that the terrible Ximenes,
In the middle of the market, in Granada -
My tongue stares in my mouth - the Koran
Threw flame into a pyre!
That was just a prelude to where you got books
If you burn, you burn people in the end.

Heine's quote is seen as prophetic for the book burning in May and June 1933 in National Socialist Germany and can be read on many memorials and memorials (see also book burning in Germany in 1933 ). In Frankfurt there is a commemorative plaque in front of the Römer and a painting in the Imperial Cathedral.

Book burning in literature and in film

"Reading mark" in memory of the book burning on May 10, 1933, Bonn market square .
The memorial to the book burning on the Bonn market; A total of 60 visible book spines, so-called "bookmarks", are distributed in the pavement of the Bonner Markt, which condense on the town hall stairs, the place where the books were burned on May 10, 1933. In addition, a weatherproof archive container in the form of a book chest was let into the square. Its inscription names the event and other authors of burned books.
"A book is a loaded gun in the house next door. Burn it. Take the shot from the weapon. Breach men's mind. Who knows who might be the target of the well-read man. Me? " (Fahrenheit 451)
  • In George Orwell's novel 1984 , works that do not conform to the regime are cremated and the burning of "all books before 1960" is propagated.
  • In burn Should we de Sade? ("Faut-il brûler Sade?", Published in Les Temps modern , December 1951 and January 1952) Simone de Beauvoir polemically picked up the term book burning for a literary criticism of the Marquis de Sade .
  • In Heinrich Heine's tragedy Almansor (1821) of the will of the burning Koran during the conquest of the Spanish Granada reported 1499/1500 de by Christian knights under the inquisitorial Cardinal Mateo Ximenes Cisneros. (see above)
  • In Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes , the priest and the barber Nikolas burn a large part of Don Quixote's books because they have deprived him of his sense of reality. As an additional measure, the book room will be bricked up.
  • In the second part of the drama Tamburlaine by Christopher Marlowe (1587) the protagonist Tamburlaine burns a copy of the Koran after the conquest of Turkey, Asia Minor and Egypt in order to show his independence.
  • In the 2013 novel The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, there is a parade in honor of Adolf Hitler on his birthday, which ends with a festive book burning. The "book thief" Liesl Memminger is asked by Franz Deutscher to burn a book. Here she realizes for the first time that Adolf Hitler and the Nazi regime are taking action against Jews and Communists , the reason why her “communist” mother brought her to the safety of her new family.

"Digital" book burning

Such censorship does not have to come from corporations, for example, under the leadership of US President Donald Trump , information on climate change and environmental protection has been deleted from the website of the White House and the National Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) by the United States government . In response to incidents of this kind, scientists have been organizing “data rescue events” since December 2016. At these events, as much public data as possible should be copied and stored in a secure archive: You started the project (German: “Datenzuflucht”).

The negative role model is the former, “ climate - skeptical ” and fossil-energy- friendly Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper , under whom important data sets and entire databases of printed matter are said to have disappeared: “In Canada, entire scientific libraries of the Ministry of Fisheries and Oceans were simply dumped . ” Datarefuge is thus understood as a precaution against a“ digital book burning ”.


Web links

Commons : Book Burning  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: book burning  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. St Dominic and the Albigenses in the WEB Gallery of Art .
  2. ^ Gotthard Strohmaier : Avicenna. Beck, Munich 1999, ISBN 3-406-41946-1 , p. 132 f.
  3. ^ Gabriele Müller-Oberhäuser: "Wicked, seditious and traiterous books". Book censorship in Reformation England in the field of tension between religion and politics. In: Rottenburger Jahrbuch für Kirchengeschichte Volume 28 (2009), pp. 117-138, here p. 127 [1] .
  4. ^ Gotthard Strohmaier : Avicenna. Beck, Munich 1999, ISBN 3-406-41946-1 , p. 153.
  5. ^ A b Matthias Schöberl: From the Palatinate state to the Bavarian state. Sovereign penetration and religious policy of the Palatinate and Bavarian rule in the Upper Palatinate from 1595 to 1648 . Inaugural dissertation to obtain a doctorate from the Philosophical Faculty III of the University of Regensburg. Regensburg 2006, DNB  980424429 , p. 238 ( Online [PDF; 6.1 MB ; accessed on January 23, 2013]).
  6. Schöberl: From the Palatinate state to the Bavarian state . Regensburg 2006, p. 245 .
  7. ^ Reimer Hansen: The David-Joriten-Trial in Tönning 1642 . Kiel 1900, p. 105-107 .
  8. William Pynchon (he was one of the founders of the Massachusetts colony in 1630 ) published the treatise The Meritorious Price of our Redemption in London in 1650 , in which he questioned the Calvinist doctrine of predestination . On his return to Boston he was accused of heresy ; his writing is one of the first to be banned and publicly burned on American soil. His descendant Thomas Pynchon processed this in 1973 in his main work The Ends of the Parable .
  9. AAR: Censure et condamnation des Lettres Provinciales . In: Les Provinciales, ou Lettres de Louis de Montalte . Tome Premier. Firmin Didot, Paris 1819, p. 284 f . (French, limited preview in Google Book Search).
  10. AAR: Censure et condamnation . Paris 1819, p. 283 ( limited preview in Google Book search).
  11. AAR: Censure et condamnation . Paris 1819, p. 288 ff . ( limited preview in Google Book search).
  12. AAR: Censure et condamnation . Paris 1819, p. 281 f . ( limited preview in Google Book search).
  13. Background.html
  14. Christopher Clark : Prussia. Rise and fall. 1600-1947. Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt , Munich 2007, ISBN 978-3-421-05392-3 , p. 155
  15. Pierre Lepape: Denis Diderot. A biography. Campus-Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 1994, ISBN 3-593-35150-1 , p. 55
  16. Christopher Clark : Prussia. Rise and fall. 1600-1947. Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt , Munich 2007, ISBN 978-3-421-05392-3 , p. 301
  17. Michael Soëtard: Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Life and work. Verlag CH Beck, Munich 2012, ISBN 978-3-406-63197-9 , p. 82
  18. Matthew Battles: The World of Books: A History of the Library . Artemis and Winkler, Düsseldorf 2003, ISBN 3-538-07165-9 , pp. 179-185 .
  19. Using the example of Ohio: Archive link ( Memento from December 22, 2011 in the Internet Archive )
  20. Jörg Baberowski : Scorched Earth. Stalin's rule of violence , CH Beck, Munich 2012, p. 142 f., ISBN 978-3-406-63254-9 .
  21. ^ Franz Werfel and the genocide of the Armenians, edited by Roy Knocke and Werner Treß, Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co KG, 2015, p. 164
  22. ^ Stolpersteine ​​Salzburg, An art project for Europe by Gunter Demnig . Retrieved January 26, 2016.
  23. Giovanni Peduto: Book Burning - The crusade against the libraries comics. Blog essay from December 12, 2016
  24. Matthew Battles: The World of Books: A History of the Library . Artemis and Winkler, Düsseldorf 2003, ISBN 3-538-07165-9 , pp. 185-188 .
  25. ^ René Geoffroy: Hungary as a place of refuge and place of work for German-speaking emigrants (1933–1938 / 39) . Frankfurt am Main: Lang 2001, p. 265 f.
  26. Article from April 24, 2017 in the Norddeutsche Rundschau .
  27. Mario Niemann : Means for Destroying National Culture. In: Ritter Runkel in his time. Medieval and contemporary history as reflected in a history comic. Edited by Wolfgang Eric Wagner . Berlin 2017 ISBN 978-3-95410-095-8 , pp. 183-216, p. 208.
  28. Article from November 3, 2018 in the Aachener Zeitung ; Quotation from Aachener Zeitung from November 11th, 1958.
  29. ^ Article from April 4, 2015 in the Bietigheimer Zeitung .
  30. ^ Franz Kasperski: 50 years ago: "Trash should be burned!" , online on the Swiss Radio and Television (SRF) site; SRF TV report from May 24, 1965 .
  31. Ferdinand Ranft: "A light into the dark German land" , Die Zeit No. 42, October 15, 1965. See also Der Spiegel No. 43 (1965), pp. 85 f. ( online ), and the statement by Bishop Otto Dibelius in: Der Spiegel No. 46 (1965), p. 61 ( online ).
  33. ^ Wilson, AJ Sri Lankan Tamil Nationalism: Its Origins and Development in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries , p.125
  34. András Riedlmayer: Convivencia under Fire: Genocide and Book-burning in Bosnia . In: Yearbook of International Convention of Slavicist Librarians in Sarajevo 2005 . S. 28–53 (English, [PDF]).
  35. Matthew Battles: The World of Books: A History of the Library . Artemis and Winkler, Düsseldorf 2003, ISBN 3-538-07165-9 , pp. 210-218 .
  36. Virani, Shafique. The Ismailis in the Middle Ages: A History of Survival, A Search for Salvation (New York: Oxford University Press), 2007, p. 110.
  37. Virani, Shafique. The Ismailis in the Middle Ages: A History of Survival, A Search for Salvation (New York: Oxford University Press), 2007, pp. 111-112.
  38. Latif Padram: The Library is on Fire. In: Kilometer Zero. 2000, accessed April 2, 2020 .
  39. Los Angeles Times, Burning of 'Ungodly' Books, CDs Puts Church in Spotlight , March 28, 2001
  40. BBC News, 'Satanic' Harry Potter books burnt , December 31, 2001
  41. Asheville Daily Planet, Church's Bible and book-burning prompts protest in Halloween rain , December 1, 2009
  42. ^ The Salt Lake City Tribune, Books for polygamous town's library burned, officials say , April 19, 2011
  43. EPD: EKD Broadcasting Commissioner criticizes ARD film “Hardliner des Herr” ( Memento from September 29, 2007 in the Internet Archive ), July 16, 2007
  44. Jerusalem Post  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.@1@ 2Template: Dead Link /  
  45. hen / fab / mgb / dpa / dapd / AFP: Protests in Afghanistan: Obama apologizes for burning the Koran. In: Spiegel Online . February 23, 2012, accessed April 12, 2020 .
  46. ipp / AFP: Harry Potter: Polish priests burn books by JK Rowling. In: Spiegel Online . April 1, 2019, accessed April 12, 2020 .
  47. Photos on Flickr: [2] and [3]
  48. , (January 20, 2017) With Trump in Charge, Climate Change References Purged From Website
  49. , (January 25, 2017) Trump administration tells EPA to cut climate page from website: sources
  50. (January 28, 2017)
  51. See also (January 28, 2017)
  52. Axel Bojanowski : Donald Trump: Climate researchers in the USA keep their data safe. In: Spiegel Online . December 14, 2016, accessed April 12, 2020 .
  53. science. , January 26, 2017: US researchers bring climate data to a safe place (January 28, 2017)