Book burning memorial at the Geibelbastion

On 10 May 1933, members of Hanover’s universities burnt the books of Jewish, liberal, pacifist and Marxist writers at the Bismarck Tower at the Maschwiesen (site of the present-day Maschsee lake).

Hanover: The book burning on 10 May 1933 at the Bismarck Tower, press photo from: Die Weltschau, 21 May 1933, page 2
Hanover: The book burning on 10 May 1933 at the Bismarck Tower, press photo from: Die Weltschau, 21 May 1933, page 2

The book burning of 1933

The site where, starting in 1934, the Maschsee was excavated used to be the flood plain of the Maschwiesen. Here is also where the Bismarck Monument, erected in 1904, stood. On 10 May 1933, this is the Hanover setting of the book burnings that take place throughout Germany. In Berlin and in other university towns, works of Marxist, Jewish, liberal and pacifist literary figures and poets are burnt in public. In Hanover too, students and lecturers play a leading role. The preparations in Hanover are made by a “Fight Committee of German Students to Combat Filth and Trash”.

Search for suspicious books

From the beginning of May to May 9, 1933, raiding patrols, [so-called “Stosstrupps”] search public libraries and bookshops for books on “Blacklists” and bring them to collection points (the Technical College and the University of Veterinary Medicine and also the Goethe- and Realgymnasium [secondary schools], Leibniz School, Humboldt School and School of Applied Arts). The books are brought by truck in a public triumphal procession from the Technical University via Königsworther Strasse, Goethestrasse, Georgstrasse and Hildesheimer Strasse to the Bismarck Tower, where they are thrown on a bonfire and burnt.

Commemorated by information panels

At the Geibelbastion by the Maschsee opposite the former site of the Bismarck Tower, this nadir in Germany’s cultural history is now commemorated by information panels erected by the “Bürgerinitiative Mahnmal Bücherverbrennung” [“Citizens’ Initiative Book Burning Memorial”].

Additional online information

Culture of Remembrance Downloadable information and memorial panels [in German]
Culture of Remembrance Audiospaziergang am Maschsee [Walk with audio guide around the Maschsee] [in German] Maschsee From Nazi project to leisure oasis [article in German]
Wikipedia entry Book burning in Hanover [in German]
Wikipedia entry List of books burned in 1933 [in German]

Further reading: Click here

Texts and images: Michael Pechel