University Library of Salzburg –
»… against oblivion«
April 30, 1938 – April 30, 2013  

75 years after the National Socialist book burning on Residenzplatz in the „beautiful city“ of Salzburg (Georg Trakl), the University Library Salzburg commemorated this terrible event.  

The library transformed all ground floor windows looking on to Hofstallgasse into »Gedenkfenster« (i.e. windows of remembrance). The information displayed there was based on contemporary local historical sources and its scholarly interpretation. The library’s “windows of remembrance” made visible the effects of censorship and of limitations to freedom of opinion, freedom of press, and freedom of expression in the arts.

The library project »… against oblivion« dealed with banned literature and the public destruction of arts and culture, not only in the context of the local book burning in 1938, but also in the context of German book burnings in 1933.

In the authoritarian “Ständestaat” (1934–1938), Marxist and socialist books had already been removed from public libraries, and libraries of labor unions had been closed down. But it was only after the “Anschluss” (i.e. “annexation” of Austria) in 1938 that Austria’s only book burning organized by the Nazis took place in Salzburg on April 30, 1938 – an imitation of the German book burnings in 1933. Scholarly libraries like the Studienbibliothek Salzburg, the predecessor of the University Library of Salzburg, were permitted to keep and collect banned literature under rigid restrictions and limited borrowing permissions. Thus the Studienbibliothek did not have to single out any books for the book burning.  

Link to the booklet “…against oblivion” (in German; pdf)
Link to the “Windows of Remembrance” (in German; pdf)

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