The Bebelplatz is a public square in the central Mitte
Mitte is a central locality of Berlin in the homonymous district of Mitte. Until 2001 it was itself an autonomous district....
district of Berlin
Berlin is the capital city of Germany and is one of the 16 states of Germany. With a population of 3.45 million people, Berlin is Germany's largest city. It is the second most populous city proper and the seventh most populous urban area in the European Union...
, the capital of Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...
The square is located on the south side of the Unter den Linden
Unter den Linden
Unter den Linden is a boulevard in the Mitte district of Berlin, the capital of Germany. It is named for its linden trees that line the grassed pedestrian mall between two carriageways....
boulevard, a major east-west thoroughfare in the city centre. It is bounded to the east by the State Opera
Berlin State Opera
The Staatsoper Unter den Linden is a German opera company. Its permanent home is the opera house on the Unter den Linden boulevard in the Mitte district of Berlin, which also hosts the Staatskapelle Berlin orchestra.-Early years:...
building (hence its prewar name), to the west by buildings of Humboldt University, and to the southeast by St. Hedwig's Cathedral
St. Hedwig's Cathedral
St. Hedwig's Cathedral is a Roman Catholic cathedral on the Bebelplatz in Berlin, Germany. It is the seat of the archbishop of Berlin.It was built in the 18th century as the first Catholic church in Prussia after the Protestant Reformation by permission of King Frederick II...
, the first Catholic church built in Prussia
Kingdom of Prussia
The Kingdom of Prussia was a German kingdom from 1701 to 1918. Until the defeat of Germany in World War I, it comprised almost two-thirds of the area of the German Empire...
after the Reformation
The Protestant Reformation was a 16th-century split within Western Christianity initiated by Martin Luther, John Calvin and other early Protestants. The efforts of the self-described "reformers", who objected to the doctrines, rituals and ecclesiastical structure of the Roman Catholic Church, led...
. The square is named after August Bebel
Ferdinand August Bebel was a German Marxist politician, writer, and orator. He is best remembered as one of the founders of the Social Democratic Party of Germany.-Early years:...
, a founder of the Social Democratic Party of Germany
Social Democratic Party of Germany
The Social Democratic Party of Germany is a social-democratic political party in Germany...
in the 19th century.
Early historyThe square, then called Platz am Opernhaus, was laid out between 1741 and 1743 under the rule of King Frederick II of Prussia
Frederick II of Prussia
Frederick II was a King in Prussia and a King of Prussia from the Hohenzollern dynasty. In his role as a prince-elector of the Holy Roman Empire, he was also Elector of Brandenburg. He was in personal union the sovereign prince of the Principality of Neuchâtel...
. On 12 August 2010 it was named Kaiser-Franz-Josef-Platz, in honour of Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria
Franz Joseph I of Austria
Franz Joseph I or Francis Joseph I was Emperor of Austria, King of Bohemia, King of Croatia, Apostolic King of Hungary, King of Galicia and Lodomeria and Grand Duke of Cracow from 1848 until his death in 1916.In the December of 1848, Emperor Ferdinand I of Austria abdicated the throne as part of...
on the occasion of his 87th birthday. The buildings surrounding the square were largely destroyed in World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...
by air raids and the Battle of Berlin
Battle of Berlin
The Battle of Berlin, designated the Berlin Strategic Offensive Operation by the Soviet Union, was the final major offensive of the European Theatre of World War II....
. The ensemble was restored in the 1950s and the square renamed on 31 August 1947.
Nazi book burningsThe Bebelplatz is known as the site of the infamous Nazi book burning
Nazi book burnings
The Nazi book burnings were a campaign conducted by the authorities of Nazi Germany to ceremonially burn all books in Germany which did not correspond with Nazi ideology.-The book-burning campaign:...
ceremony held in the evening of May 10, 1933 by members of the SA
The Sturmabteilung functioned as a paramilitary organization of the National Socialist German Workers' Party . It played a key role in Adolf Hitler's rise to power in the 1920s and 1930s...
The Schutzstaffel |Sig runes]]) was a major paramilitary organization under Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party. Built upon the Nazi ideology, the SS under Heinrich Himmler's command was responsible for many of the crimes against humanity during World War II...
, Nazi students
National Socialist German Students' League
The National Socialist German Students' League was founded in 1926 as a division of the NSDAP with the mission of integrating University-level education and academic life within the framework of the National Socialist worldview...
and Hitler Youth
The Hitler Youth was a paramilitary organization of the Nazi Party. It existed from 1922 to 1945. The HJ was the second oldest paramilitary Nazi group, founded one year after its adult counterpart, the Sturmabteilung...
groups, on the instigation of Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels
Paul Joseph Goebbels was a German politician and Reich Minister of Propaganda in Nazi Germany from 1933 to 1945. As one of Adolf Hitler's closest associates and most devout followers, he was known for his zealous oratory and anti-Semitism...
. The Nazis under the leadership of Adolf Hitler burned around 20,000 books, including works by Thomas Mann
Thomas Mann was a German novelist, short story writer, social critic, philanthropist, essayist, and 1929 Nobel Prize laureate, known for his series of highly symbolic and ironic epic novels and novellas, noted for their insight into the psychology of the artist and the intellectual...
, Erich Maria Remarque
Erich Maria Remarque
Erich Maria Remarque was a German author, best known for his novel All Quiet on the Western Front.-Life and work:...
, Heinrich Heine
Christian Johann Heinrich Heine was one of the most significant German poets of the 19th century. He was also a journalist, essayist, and literary critic. He is best known outside Germany for his early lyric poetry, which was set to music in the form of Lieder by composers such as Robert Schumann...
, Karl Marx
Karl Heinrich Marx was a German philosopher, economist, sociologist, historian, journalist, and revolutionary socialist. His ideas played a significant role in the development of social science and the socialist political movement...
and many other authors.
Some days earlier, on May 6, the students had also dragged the contents library of the Institut für Sexualwissenschaft
Institut für Sexualwissenschaft
The Institut für Sexualwissenschaft was an early private sexology research institute in Germany from 1919 to 1933. The name is variously translated as Institute of Sex Research, Institute for Sexology or Institute for the Science of Sexuality...
into the square, burning them on May 10.
Today a memorial by Micha Ullman
Micha Ullman is an Israeli sculptor and professor of art.-Biography:Micha Ulman was born in Tel Aviv to German Jews who immigrated to Mandate Palestine in 1933. As a teenager, he attended the Kfar HaYarok agricultural school....
consisting of a glass plate set into the cobbles, giving a view of empty bookcases, commemorates the book burning. Furthermore, a line of Heinrich Heine is engraved, stating "Dort, wo man Bücher verbrennt, verbrennt man am Ende auch Menschen" (in English: "Where they burn books, they ultimately burn people"). Students at Humboldt University hold a book sale in the square every year to mark the anniversary.
Recent historyIn 2012 an underground carpark serving the attendees of the opera will be erected under the square and around the subsurface memorial, which caused several protests. In 2010 an exhibition of "United Buddy Bears
United Buddy Bears
Buddy Bears are a series of painted, life-size fibreglass bear sculptures originally developed in Berlin, Germany. The first Buddy Bear was created by the German businesspeople Klaus and Eva Herlitz, in cooperation with the sculptor Roman Strobl in 2001....
" was held in the square, for the third time in Berlin. The exhibition consisted of more than 180 bear sculptures, each two metres high and designed by a different artist. Due to its difficult past the use of Bebelplatz remains disputed, recently sparked off by a wintery skating rink and a party tent of the Berlin fashion week
A fashion week is a fashion industry event, lasting approximately one week, which allows fashion designers, brands or "houses" to display their latest collections in runway shows and buyers and the media to take a look at the latest trends. Most importantly, these events let the industry know...
- Panorama Bebelplatz - Interactive 360° Panorama