Artist Commemorates 81st Anniversary of Nazi Book Burning

Wolfram Kastner burning a black circle into the lawn in Munich's Königsplatz square in commemoration of the Nazis' May 10, 1933 book burning. Photo: Wolfram Kastner, via the Tablet.

Political artist Wolfram Kastner is marking the 81st anniversary of the Munich book burnings that took place on May 10, 1933, as part of Germany’s “campaign against the un-German spirit” on the site of the original action, Tablet reports

The original book-burning in the city’s Königsplatz square was organized by university students, Nazis, and Nazi sympathizers. The event kicked off with a nighttime parade, lit by torches. Singing and speeches preceded the bonfire. Similar events designed to promote Aryan culture took place in 34 college towns across the country.

Kastner has attracted controversy for his artwork, which is meant to remind viewers of the important role Munich played in the Nazi rise to power. As part of his piece, he will burn a black circle into the Königsplatz lawn right where the original bonfire occurred.

The second part of the project is a day-long “Reading Against Forgetting,” with students, teachers, actors, writers, and politicians reading aloud at the Königsplatz from the works of Jewish authors and political dissidents such as Franz Kafka, Upton Sinclair, Sigmund Freud, and Ernest Hemingway.

Kastner has re-enacted the burning over a dozen times since 1995, and first hosted the reading in 2002.

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