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.

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Unsheltered
    Unsheltered
    by Barbara Kingsolver
    Willa Knox's house is falling down. She recently inherited a Victorian residence in Vineland, ...
  • Book Jacket: Buried Beneath the Baobab Tree
    Buried Beneath the Baobab Tree
    by Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani
    Ya Ta, the main character in Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani's novel, Buried Beneath the Baobab Tree, ...
  • Book Jacket: The Boneless Mercies
    The Boneless Mercies
    by April Genevieve Tucholke
    The Mercies are assassins, part of a long tradition of killers who serve to end the suffering of the...
  • Book Jacket: Daughter of a Daughter of a Queen
    Daughter of a Daughter of a Queen
    by Sarah Bird
    Sarah Bird's historical novel, Daughter of a Daughter of a Queen, imagines, with a grand flourish, ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Winter Soldier
by Daniel Mason

A story of war and medicine, of finding love in the sweeping tides of history, and of the mistakes we make.

About the book
Join the discussion!

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Gone So Long
    by Andre Dubus III

    Dubus' first novel in a decade is a masterpiece of thrilling tension and heartrending empathy.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win Gone So Long

Andre Dubus III's First Novel in a Decade

A masterpiece of thrilling tension and heartrending empathy.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

G H E Rope A H Will H H

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 books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.