Monday, May 12, 2008

Library of the Burned Books: plaque, Boulevard Arago, Montparnasse, Paris

The former "Library of the Burned Books" (also known as the Deutsche Freiheits Bibliothek), was established in Paris by German and anti-Nazi exiles, and opened on 10 May 1934 (exactly one year after the first major bookfires in Berlin and other German cities). After almost six years as a major research holding, and as a centre for the exiles, it was closed by French authorities during the phoney war. Although the exact fate of the library is not known, it can be assumed that it was destroyed, perhaps burnt, during the first months of the German occupation.
The Library was in a small studio on the Boulevard Arago in the XIII, not far from the Montparnasse cemetery. From the street there is nothing to commemorate the erstwhile Library (although there are plaques for several of the artists who lived in the precinct). However, in the small foyer, high up above the mailboxes, there is this plaque, with its rather sparse note.

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