Bebelplatz is a public square at Unter den Linden boulevard in the Mitte district in Berlin. It was the site of the notorious Nazi book burning in 1933.
Bebelplatz in Berlin
View of the Old Library building ("Kommode") at Bebelplatz in Berlin. © Tobias Droz/BerlinOnline

Planned in 1740 as a jewel of Prussian humanistic enlightenment, Bebelplatz – formerly Kaiser Franz Joseph Platz – takes its name from August Bebel, co-founder of the Social Democratic Party (SPD). The square had its auspicious beginnings in Friedrich the Great's visionary project for the square near the Royal Palace. As "Forum Fridericianum" it drew inspiration from the classical urban design of ancient Rome and was meant as a centre for intellectual and artistic endeavour. The Forum's buildings included the Alte Königliche Bibliothek (Old Royal Library) the Staatsoper (Opera House) Unter den Linden, erected 1741-42 and St Hedwig's Cathedral. It was the cost of war being waged at the time which prevented the project from being completed.

Bebelplatz Berlin

Bebelplatz: Site of first Nazi book burning in 1933

Ironically, the square is better remembered today as the venue for the Nazi's first official book burning bonfire on May 10, 1933 just opposite Humboldt University, where Karl Marx had been a student of Hegel's. The action, meant as a dire warning to Nazi opponents was instigated with the purposes of destroying the "Jewish mind and the whole rotten liberalist tendency". Over 20,000 works including those of the so-called subversive writers including Karl Marx, Berthold Brecht and Thomas Mann were set alight and destroyed.

"Sunken Library"

The memory of this event is symbolically kept alive by a memorial monument known as "Versunkene Bibliothek" (sunken library) by Mischa Ullmann – a 50sqm underground library with empty shelves.

Bebelplatz Information

Address: Bebelplatz
10117 Berlin

Public transportation

Brandenburg Tor

Attractions & Sights

Berlin’s top attractions, palaces and monuments with address, photos, public transport details and more »
Source: | All texts, photographs and graphics on this site are protected by copyright. They may not be copied, reproduced, translated or used otherwise.
Last edited: 19. November 2015

max 23°C
min 13°C
Partly cloudy Extended Forecast »

Over 27 Accor hotels in Berlin

Accor Hotels in Berlin
Accor welcomes you to over 27 modern and unique hotels in Berlin. Enjoy the special ambience and hospitality for a small price e.g. at Mercure, Novotel, ibis... more »

Find Hotels in Berlin

Hotel in Berlin
Find and book your ideal hotel in Berlin more »

Search & Book Guided Tours in Berlin

Book Guided Tours in Berlin
Search, find and book a guided tour in Berlin through our partner rent-a-guide. more »

Events & Festivals in Berlin

Classic Open Air in Berlin
Things to do in Berlin: Highlights of the Berlin culture programme, tips for theater, opera, concerts, movies, trade fairs and more »

The Berlin tourist pass

Berlin Welcome Card - VisitBerlin
Explore Berlin and take advantage of the Berlin WelcomeCard! Unlimited travel and savings of up to 50%. more »

Attractions & Sights

Brandenburg Tor
Berlin’s top attractions, palaces and monuments with address, photos, public transport details and more »

Ticket Search in English

Find & buy tickets online for concerts, events and more »

Markets & Flea Markets

Flea Markets in Berlin
Berlin's most popular flea markets and antique markets with adresses, opening hours, public transport and map. more »

Berlin Photo Galleries in German

Pictures of sights, monuments, places of interest and more »
(Bilder: dpa; Accorhotels 2012; VisitBerlin; BerlinOnline/argus/flashpics/; RN/BerlinOnline; Antje Kraschinski)