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.

One-Month Free

Discover books that
entertain, engage & enlighten.

Find out more

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Women of Chateau Lafayette
    The Women of Chateau Lafayette
    by Stephanie Dray
    The Women of Chateau Lafayette, Stephanie Dray's latest work of historical fiction, revolves around ...
  • Book Jacket: Windhall
    Windhall
    by Ava Barry
    Ava Barry's debut mystery novel Windhall is centered around the salacious murder of a starlet named ...
  • Book Jacket: Libertie
    Libertie
    by Kaitlyn Greenidge
    Kaitlyn Greenidge burst onto the literary scene in 2016 with her award-winning novel, We Love You, ...
  • Book Jacket
    Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982
    by Cho Nam-joo, Jamie Chang
    'Kim Jiyoung is thirty-three years old, thirty-four Korean age. She got married three years ago and ...

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Raft of Stars
    by Andrew J. Graff

    A timeless story of loss, hope, and adventure set against the vividly rendered landscape of the Upper Midwest.

    Reader Reviews
  • Book Jacket

    The Widow Queen
    by Elzbieta Cherezinska

    The epic story of an 11th century Polish queen whose life and name were all but forgotten until now.

    Reader Reviews
Book Club Discussion
Book Jacket
The Mountains Sing
by Nguyen Phan Que Mai
Winner of the 2020 BookBrowse Debut Novel Award: A multi-generational tale set in Viet Nam.
Win This Book!
Win The Beauty of Your Face

A New York Times Notable Book of 2020

"Stunning.… A timely family saga with faith and forgiveness at its core."
Marie Claire

Enter

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

It's N S O M N

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

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.