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

Become a Member
and discover your next great read!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket
    Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions
    by Mario Giordano
    Munich matron and self-described worldly sophisticate, Isolde Oberreiter, has decided to retire to a...
  • Book Jacket: Of Arms and Artists
    Of Arms and Artists
    by Paul Staiti
    In the late eighteenth-century, the United States of America was still an emerging country, ...
  • Book Jacket: So Say the Fallen
    So Say the Fallen
    by Stuart Neville
    Noir crime fiction – Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett anyone? – is an American invention...
Book Discussions
Book Jacket
The Bone Tree
by Greg Iles

An epic trilogy of blood and race, family and justice.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Next
    by Stephanie Gangi

    Fast-paced, wickedly observant, and haunting in the best sense of the word.

    Read Member Reviews

Win this book!
Win The World of Poldark

Win the book & DVD

Enter to win The World of Poldark and the full first series on DVD.


Word Play

Solve this clue:

One S D N M A S

and be entered to win..

Books that     

 & 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.


Free Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with what's happening in the world of books:
Reviews, previews, interviews and more!

Spam Free: Your email is never shared with anyone; opt out any time.