The Bebelplatz is known as the site of the infamous Nazi book burning ceremony. On May 10 1933, the first of the book burnings was carried out outside the University of Berlin, with university students leading the parade. Dr Joseph Goebbels began by throwing the works of Sigmund Freud into the flames. All books which, in any way, contradicted Nazi ideas were banned or destroyed.
The Bebelplatz memorial consists of a glass plate set into the cobbles, giving a view of empty bookcases. Therein are engraved the words of Heinrich Heine, stating "Dort, wo man Bücher verbrennt, verbrennt man am Ende auch Menschen". In English this reads: "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 of the events of 10 May 1933.