"Book-Mark" Bonn 2013

"Book-Mark" ("Lese - Zeichen")




May 10th, 2013 is the 80th anniversary of the burning of the books. To mark this historic date our Denkzeichen (A Memorial to Reflect On) will be inaugurated on the Market Square in Bonn.

The memorial comprises of book artefacts dispersed over the entire Market Square. They are visible bronze book spines planted in the square's cobblestone surface. Each book spine carries the title and author of a book burnt on May 10th, 1933.

What appears to be a random spread of book spines across the square does in actual fact become more dense towards the town-hall steps where the actual book burning took place.

Furthermore, a weatherproof archive-box in the shape of a book chest is cemented on the square next to the town-hall steps. Its text tells of the book burning on this site and lists further authors whose books were destroyed. The archive will hold a collection of books by authors whose books were burnt that night in Bonn.

Memorials require rituals so that they are repeatedly filled with life and recalled: on every May 10th the archive box will be opened and citations from the burnt books will be read at a commemorative ceremony. Then the books in the archive will be presented as gifts to passer-byes while new and different books will be placed in the archive. The archive will then be locked till the following 10th of May. Thus, different titles and authors of books burnt will be read over the years, not only to remember them but also to re-read them. In this manner the MEM-orial will become a READ-orial. In a public performance we began "dispersing" the book spines over Bonn's Market Square on April 23rd, 2013.

The official handing-over of the memorial titled Lese-Zeichen (Book Mark) to the citizens of Bonn took place on May 10th, 2013 in front of the Old Town Hall on Market Square.



Video - Bringing back the Books (from Wolfgang Kauders)

Documentation and Video about the event on Mai 10th, 2013 (from Wolfgang Kauders)


Read more: (only in German)
Historische Dokumente zur Bücherverbrennung im Mai 1933 in Bonn

Erklärung von Bonner Hochschullehrern (Generalanzeiger - 4. März 1933)


Rundschreiben des Hauptamts für Presse und Propaganda der Deutschen Studentenschaft "
an die Einzelstudentenschaften" (8. April 1933)

Rede gehalten am 1. Mai 1933 zur Feier des Tages der "Deutschen Arbeit" und zur Übergabe
der Studentenrechtsordnung (von Prof. Dr. Friedrich Pietrusky)


Reden der Professoren Naumann und Lüthgen - gehalten bei der von der Bonner Studentenschaft veranstalten Kundgebung wider den undeutschen Geist auf dem Marktplatz zu Bonn am 10. Mai 1933


die Rede von Prof. Lüthgen in neuem Schrifttypus

die Rede von Prof. Naumann in neuem Schrifttypus

Zeitungsbericht - Bonner Zeitung vom 11. Mai 1933

Zeitungsbericht - Deutsche Reichszeitung vom 11. Mai 1933

Zeitungsbericht - Generalanzeiger Bonn vom 11. Mai 1933

Zeitungsbericht - Westdeutscher Beobachter vom 12. Mai 1933

Briefwechsel mit Bonn - Thomas Mann zur Aberkennung seiner Ehrendoktorwürde

(Streichung aus der Liste der Ehrendoktoren der Universität Bonn am 19. Dezember 1936)






The official handing-over of the memorial to the citizens of Bonn took place on May 10th, 2013


 Text / Inscription