Join BookBrowse today and get access to free books, our twice monthly digital magazine, and more.

Who said: "Wherever they burn books, in the end will also burn human beings."

BookBrowse's Favorite Quotes

"Wherever they burn books, in the end will also burn human beings." - Heinrich Heine

Heinric HeineEssayist, journalist and poet Christian Johann Heinrich Heine is considered one of the most significant German romantic poets. Born into a family of assimilated German Jews in 1797, Heine's father was a merchant, and his mother the daughter of a physician. After his father's business failed, Heine was sent to Hamburg to go into business, but soon took up law instead. At that time, Jews were forbidden from entering certain professions, one of which was university lecturing, a profession that Heine was drawn to. He took his law degree in 1825 and converted from Judaism to Protestantism the same year - he later described his conversion as "the ticket of admission into European culture", and spent much of his life wrestling with the incompatible elements of his German and Jewish identities.

He made his poetry debut with Gedichte ("Poems") in 1821, followed by Buch der Lieder ("Book of Songs", 1827). He left Germany for Paris in 1831 where he associated with utopian socialists who preached an egalitarian classless paradise based on meritocracy. In 1835, German authorities banned his work and that of others associated with the progressive Young Germany movement; but Heine continued to comment on German politics and society for the rest of his life from his exile in France, only returning to Germany once in secret. He died in Paris in 1856 after an eight year illness.

In 1933, copies of Heine's books were among the many burned on Berlin's Opernplatz. To commemorate the event, one of the most famous lines from Heine's 1821 play Almansor is now engraved at the site: "Dort, wo man Bücher verbrennt, verbrennt man am Ende auch Menschen." ("Where they burn books, they will, in the end, burn human beings too."). In the play, this is a reference to the burning of the Quran during the Spanish Inquisition in an effort to eradicate the Moors from the Iberian Peninsula, which had been a major center of medieval Islamic culture.

More Quotes

This quote & biography originally ran in an issue of BookBrowse's membership magazine. Full Membership Features & Benefits.

Support BookBrowse

Join our inner reading circle, go ad-free and get way more!

Find out more


Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: Song of the Six Realms
    Song of the Six Realms
    by Judy I. Lin
    Xue'er has no place in the kingdom of Qi or any of the Six Realms. Her name means "Solitary Snow" ...
  • Book Jacket: The Demon of Unrest
    The Demon of Unrest
    by Erik Larson
    In the aftermath of the 1860 presidential election, the divided United States began to collapse as ...
  • Book Jacket: Daughters of Shandong
    Daughters of Shandong
    by Eve J. Chung
    Daughters of Shandong is the debut novel of Eve J. Chung, a human rights lawyer living in New York. ...
  • Book Jacket: Anita de Monte Laughs Last
    Anita de Monte Laughs Last
    by Xochitl Gonzalez
    Brooklyn-based novelist Xochitl Gonzalez is an inspiring writer to follow. At forty, she decided to ...

BookBrowse Book Club

Book Jacket
Romantic Comedy
by Curtis Sittenfeld
A comedy writer's stance on love shifts when a pop star challenges her assumptions in this witty and touching novel.

Members Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Stolen Child
    by Ann Hood

    An unlikely duo ventures through France and Italy to solve the mystery of a child’s fate.

  • Book Jacket

    This Strange Eventful History
    by Claire Messud

    An immersive, masterful story of a family born on the wrong side of history.

Win This Book
Win Only the Brave

Only the Brave by Danielle Steel

A powerful, sweeping historical novel about a courageous woman in World War II Germany.

Enter

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

F T a T

and be entered to win..

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.