"The Book Burning on May 10, 1933: How It Happened, Which Books Were Burned, and What Happened to the AuthorsFollowing the overwhelming success of Lichtjahre, his short history of German literature after 1945, Volker Weidermann turns his gaze back to the day when books burned in Germany. His mission: to snatch these books, these authors, from oblivion!
It was announced as an 'action against the un-German spirit': the meticulous nationwide preparation culminated on May 10, 1933 in the erection of pyres in many German cities, onto which students, librarians, professors and SA people then threw the books that were not compatible with their inhuman ideology in a ghostly ceremony. Unforgotten are the tape recordings documenting how Joseph Goebbels called out the individual authors, some of whom were even present, in the square next to the Berlin State Opera with the words "And we hand over to the flames the works of ...".
Volker Weidermann tells how this day went, on which it defiantly rained, he tells of the librarian Herrmann, who drew up the original list of all lists, according to which the pyres were then served, and he tells of the works and their authors - and of how compliant booksellers and librarians removed the books from their shelves, so thoroughly that many works and authors did not reappear afterwards.
The result is over 100 stories of the lives and works of writers, including classics such as Erich Kästner, Kurt Tucholsky, Stefan Zweig, Bertolt Brecht and Erich Maria Remarque, as well as completely forgotten ones such as Rudolf Braune, foreign authors such as Ernest Hemingway, and a great many, such as Hermann Essig, who should definitely be reread. A book about books, destinies and a country where first books were burned and then people." (© Verlag Kiepenheuer & Witsch, 2008)