This map shows the extent of book burnings throughout Germany in the early days of the Nazi regime. Many of the book burnings were organized by university students, as members of the National Socialist German Students’ League (NSDStB). Younger party supporters, mobilized in the Hitler Youth, also orchestrated many of these acts of terror and cultural violence at their schools. The point of the bonfires was to do away with culture and learning that was thought to represent a “non-German spirit.” This attack was aimed at Jewish authors (based on Nazi categories) as well as non-Jewish authors whose ideas did not reflect National Socialist ideology. For example, Erich Maria Remarque’s famous novel All Quiet on the Western Front was frequently targeted for its “pacifist” critique of war. While book burnings culminated in the “Action against the Un-German Spirit” orchestrated by the National Socialist German Students’ League in May 1933, National Socialist groups organized book burnings prior and after the “Action against the Un-German Spirit” as well. In the city of Kaiserlautern, for example, members of the local NSDAP chapter publicly burned copies of All Quiet on the Western front from the local library in late March, followed by another book burning in May, organized by the Hitler Youth. Public book burnings, organized by local NSDAP chapters, students, and members of the Hitler Youth continued well into the fall of 1933.

Book Burnings Across Germany (1933)


Source: Source and cartography: Bernd Sösemann, Propaganda (Stuttgart: Steiner, 2011), doc. 1062, p. 1139. Cartography by Gabriel Moss, 2021.