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Bebelplatz

Memorial Berlin, Germany

The sunken library Bebelplatz

The Bebelplatz (formerly colloquially Opernplatz) is a public square in the central Mitte district of Berlin, the capital of Germany. The square is located on the south side of the Unter den Linden boulevard, a major east-west thoroughfare in the city centre.

Don’t miss Micha Ullman’s spatial installation: a library with empty shelves commemorates the book-burning at Bebelplatz. While strolling across Bebelplatz you'll come across people staring at the same spot on the ground. When you get closer, you see a glass plate set in the paving stones, and below it an underground room with empty bookshelves. The memorial shows what is missing. Underground, almost out of sight, no books, empty white shelves, directly under the Bebelplatz. What was lost and burnt were the books by those who the Nazis ostracised and persecuted, who had to leave the country and whose stories were no longer allowed to be told. Symbolically, the underground bookshelves have space for around 20,000 books, as a reminder of the 20,000 books that went up in flames here on 10 May 1933 at the behest of the Nazis. The Israeli artist Micha Ullman designed the library memorial, which was unveiled on 20 March 1995. Two bronze plates also set in the ground contain information and an inscription with the warning: That was but a prelude; where they burn books, they will ultimately burn people as well. Heinrich Heine 1820 In the middle of the square on 10 May 1933, Nazi students burnt the works of hundreds of independent authors, journalists, philosophers and academics.

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Location
Unter den Linden, 10117 Berlin, Germany

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